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Tub Complete Guide to 
Psychological and Spiritual 
Growth foe the 

Nine Personality Types 



DON RICHARD RISO and RUSS HUDSON 

Bestselling co-authors of Personality Types 














I 


The Complete Guide to 
Psychological and Spiritual 
Growth for the 
Nine Personality Types 

THE 

WISDOM 
OF THE 
ENNEAGRAM 


DON RICHARD RISO 
and RUSS HUDSON 


BANTAM BOOKS 


New York Toronto London 


Sydney Auckland 





The Enneagram of personality is a modern synthesis of ancient and modern 
psychological and spiritual teachings. The contents of this book are the result of 
the original work of the authors, and no body of Enneagram material has been 
passed down in a preexisting “oral tradition” in the public domain. Please respect 
the rights of the authors by not photocopying or otherwise infringing this copy¬ 
righted material. This book has been copyrighted and may not be reproduced in 
whole or in part by any means whatsoever without the expressed written 
permission of Bantam Books. If you would like to obtain multiple copies of this 
book at a reduced price, please order them in bulk from the publisher. See page 
390 of this book for ordering information. 



TH!L WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

A Bantam Book/June 1999 


All rights reserved. 

Copyright © 1999 by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson. 

Cover art by Rene Magritte (1898-1967). La Grande Famille. Copyright © ARS, New York. 
Private collection. Herscovici / AH Resource, New York. 

Cover design copyright © 1999 by Cathy Saksa. 

DESIGN BY SUSAN YURAN. 

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any 
form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including 
photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, 
without permission in writing from the publisher. 

For information address: Bantam Books. 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 
Riso, Don Richard. 

Tlte wisdom of the enneagram : the complete guide to 
psychological and spiritual growth for the nine personality 
types / Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, 
p. cm. 

Includes bibliographical references. 

ISBN 0-553-37820-1 

1. Spiritual life. 2. Enneagram. I. Hudson, Russ. 11. Title. 

BL624.R57 1999 
155.2'6—dc21 98-50577 

CIP 

Published simultaneously in the United States and Canada 

Bantam Books are published by Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Its 
trademark, consisting of the words “Bantam Books" and the portrayal of a rooster, is 
Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. Marca Registrada. 
Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, New York 10036. 

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 


20 19 





Praise for 


THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 


“ The Wisdom of the Enneagram is a very important book. By combining the horizontal types of the 
Enneagram with a system of vertical levels of awareness, Riso and Hudson have produced one of the 
first truly integrated models of the human psyche. In addition to the importance of this pioneering work 
itself, it goes to point up the utter inadequacy of anything less than a full-spectrum model of human 
growth and development. Highly recommended.” 

—Ken Wilber, author of The Marriage of Seme and Sold 

“1 highly recommend this book, not only to anyone on the path of personal transformation, but to 
anyone who wants to understand the complex inner world of others, whether a spouse, family member, 
co-worker, or friend. The questionnaires were fun and illuminating. I received some very helpful 
information about myself, felt challenged to grow, and experienced a deepening of compassion. Perhaps 
the most profound contribution of The Wisdom of the Enneagram is reflected in the word ‘wisdom.’ The 
authors clearly communicate the complexity of human nature, the spiritual yearning resonant in all of 
us, and the ascending levels of our possibility. But they do not leave us there. They offer a clear path for 
personal and spiritual evolution.” 

—Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., author of Getting the Love You Want 

.“Don Riso and Russ Hudson thoughtfully engage the richness and depth of the Enneagram, and 
conjure with its power as a tool of transformation. The Wisdom of the Enneagram is filled with its own 
wisdom and depth. You’ll find yourself returning to it over and over again and discovering new 
treasures.” 

—Tony Schwartz, author of What Really Matters 

“ The Wisdom of the Enneagram is not only a clear and comprehensive description and discussion of this 
ancient personality typology, but also a major and original contribution to its use and further 
development. Don Riso and Russ Hudson have designed simple, practical guidelines and tests that make 
it possible to determine one’s own personality type and use this knowledge for healing and 
psychospiritual transformation.” 


•Stanislav Grof, M.D., author of The Adventure of Self Discovery 



ENNEAGRAM RESOURCES BY 


DON RICHARD RISO The essential guide to the psychology and spirituality of the system 

THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM (1999) 

And Russ Hudson 

The most complete source of Enneagram descriptions and theory 
PERSONALITY TYPES 

Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery (1987, 1996) 

Revised with Russ Hudson 

Practical applications of the Enneagram in your daily life 
UNDERSTANDING THE ENNEAGRAM 
The Practical Guide to Personality Types (1990) 

An introduction to the Enneagram with a highly accurate personality test 
DISCOVERING YOUR PERSONALITY TYPE 
The New Enneagram Questionnaire (1992, 1995) 

Spiritual and psychological inspiration for each type 
ENNEAGRAM TRANSFORMATIONS 

Releases and Affirmations for Healing Your Personality Type (1993) 

A seven-hour audiotape introduction from Nightingale-Conant 
THE POWER OF THE ENNEAGRAM 
A New Technology of Self-Discovery 
With Russ Hudson 

A two-hour abridgement from Simon and Schuster 
THE POWER OF THE ENNEAGRAM 
A New Technology of Self-Discovery 
With Russ Hudson 



We dedicate this book to 

the Ground of all Being, 

the One from Whom we have come, 

and to Whom we shall return, 

the Font of wisdom and Light of lights, 

the Maker, Renewer, and Keeper of all things. 

May this book which comes from our hearts, 

speak to the hearts of all who read it. 




CONTENTS 


Preface—Beings of Light 1 

I ▼ THE INWARD JOURNEY 7 

1 Identifying Your Personality Type 9 

Introducing the Nine Types 10 

The Riso-Hudson QUEST 13 

2 Ancient Roots, Modern Insights 19 

3 Essence and Personality 27 

4 Cultivating Awareness 36 

5 The Triadic Self 49 

The Triads 49 

Social Style—The Hornevian Groups 59 

Coping Style—The Harmonic Groups 64 

6 Dynamics and Variations 69 

The Wings 69 

The Instinctual Variants 70 

The Levels of Development 75 

The Directions of Integration 
and Disintegration 87 



v i i i 


CONTENTS 


II ▼ THE NINE PERSONALITY TYPES 95 

7 Type One : THE REFORMER 97 

8 Type Two: THE HELPER ' 125 

9 Type Three: THE ACHIEVER 151 

10 Type Four: THE INDIVIDUALIST 178 

11 Type Five: THE INVESTIGATOR 206 

12 Type Six: THE LOYALIST 233 

13 Type Seven: THE ENTHUSIAST 260 

14 Type Eight: THE CHALLENGER 287 

15 Type Nine: THE PEACEMAKER 314 

III ▼ TOOLS FOR TRANSFORMATION 341 

16 The Enneagram and Spiritual Practice 343 

17 The Spiritual Journey-—Always Now 367 

Acknowledgments 384 

. Bibliography 387 

For More Information 390 




PREFACE 


Beings of Light 


WE ARE ALL DRIVEN by a deep inner restlessness. We may feel this 
restlessness as a sense that something is missing in us, although it is 
usually difficult to define exactly what it is. We have all sorts of notions 
about what we think we need or want—a better relationship, a better 
job, a better physique, a better car, and on and on. We believe that if 
we acquire that perfect relationship or job or new “toy,” the restlessness 
will go away, and we will feel satisfied and complete. But experience 
teaches us that the new car makes us feel better for only a short time. 
The new relationship may be wonderful, but it never quite fulfills us in 
the way we thought it would. So what are we really looking for? 

If we reflect for a moment, we may realize that what our hearts 
yearn for is to knoiu ivho we are and why we are here. But little in our 
culture encourages us to look for answers to these important questions. 
We have been taught that the quality of our life will improve primarily 
if our external fortunes improve. Sooner or later, however, we realize 
that external things, while valuable in themselves, cannot address the 
deep restlessness of our soul. 

So where can we look for answers? 

Many of the currently available books on personal transformation 
speak movingly about the kind of person that we would all like to be. 
They recognize the vital importance of compassion, community, com¬ 
munication, and creativity. But as beautiful and attractive as these (and 
other) qualities are, we find it extremely difficult to maintain them or 
to put them into practice in our daily lives. Our hearts yearn to soar, 
yet we almost always come crashing down painfully on the rocks of 
fear, self-defeating habits, and ignorance. All too often our good inten¬ 
tions and noble hopes simply become new sources of disappointment. 
We give up on ourselves, return to familiar distractions, and try to for¬ 
get about the whole matter. 


"There's a part of every living 
thing that wants to become itself, 
the tadpole into the frog, the 
chrysalis into the butterfly, a dam¬ 
aged human being into a whole 
one.That is spirituality.” 

Ellen Bass 



2 


PREFACE 


“It seems to me that before 
we set out on a journey to find re¬ 
ality, to find God, before we can 
act, before we can have any rela¬ 
tionship with another ... it is 
essential that we begin to under¬ 
stand ourselves first.” 

Krishnamurti 


“Whatever your age, your up¬ 
bringing, or your education, what 
you are made of is mostly unused 
potential.” 

George Leonard 


Are the vast majority of popular psychology books misguided or 
wrong? Are human beings really incapable of living more complete and 
fulfilling lives? The great spiritual and moral teachers throughout his¬ 
tory have always insisted that we have the potential to achieve great¬ 
ness—that we are, in fact, divine creatures in some real sense. So why 
do we find this state so hard to recognize and live up to? 

We believe that most self-help books are not necessarily wrong, but 
merely incomplete. For example, even with a basic topic like weight loss, 
there are many possible reasons why a person might have a weight 
problem or issues with food—a sugar sensitivity, or excessive fat in the 
diet, or nervous eating to repress anxiety, or any number of other emo¬ 
tional issues. Without identifying the specific core issues that are caus¬ 
ing the problem, no solution is likely, no matter how great the effort. 

The self-help authors prescriptions are usually based on methods 
that have worked for him or her personally and reflect his or her own 
psychological makeup and personal process. If a reader happens to have 
a similar psychological makeup, the author’s method may be effective. 
But if there is little “match,” the reader may be misled rather than 
helped. 

Any effective approach to growth must therefore take into account 
the fact that there are different kinds of people —different personality 
types. Historically many psychological and spiritual systems have at¬ 
tempted to address this key insight: astrology, numerology, the four 
classic temperaments (phlegmatic, choleric, melancholic, and san¬ 
guine), Jung’s system of psychological types (extrovert and introvert ori¬ 
entations times sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking functions), 
and many others. Furthermore, recent studies in infant development 
and in brain science have indicated that fundamental differences in 
temperament between different types of people have a biological basis. 

This diversity explains why what is good advice for one person can 
be disastrous for another. Telling some types that they need to focus 
more on their feelings is like throwing water on a drowning man. 
Telling other types that they need to assert themselves more is as fool¬ 
ish as putting an anorexic person on a diet. In understanding ourselves, 
our relationships, our spiritual growth, and many other important is¬ 
sues, we will see that type—not gender, not culture, and not genera¬ 
tional differences—is the crucial factor. 

We believe that awareness of personality types is needed in many 
areas—in education, the sciences, business, the humanities, and ther¬ 
apy—and, above all, in spirituality and transformational work. While 
our restless yearnings may be universal, how they are expressed is much 
more particular and is, in fact, a function of the “filter” with which we 
approach all of life. The main filter that we use to understand ourselves 
and the world around us, to express ourselves, to defend ourselves, to 



PREFACE 


3 


deal with our past and anticipate our future, to learn with, to rejoice 
with, and to fall in love with, is our personality type. 

What if there were a system that could enable us to have more in¬ 
sight into ourselves and others? What if it could help us discern our fil¬ 
ters more clearly and take them into proper account? What if this 
system could show us our core psychological issues as well as our inter¬ 
personal strengths and weaknesses? What if this system did not depend 
on the pronouncements of experts or gurus, or on our birth date, or 
our birth order, but on our personality patterns and our willingness to 
honestly explore ourselves? What if this system showed us not only our 
core issues, but also pointed out effective ways of dealing with them? 
What if this system also directed us toward the depths of our soul? Such 
a system exists, and it is called the Enneagram. 


“Spiritually speaking, every¬ 
thing that one wants, aspires to, 
and needs is ever-present, accessi¬ 
ble here and now—for those with 
eyes to see." 

Surya Das 


BEINGS OF LIGHT 

One of the most important incidents of my life happened to me, 
Don, several years ago when I was involved in a week-long spiritual re¬ 
treat in upstate New York. About fifty of us were staying in a turn-of- 
the-century hotel that our teacher owned. Since the grounds and 
interior of the old house perpetually needed upkeep, it was a perfect 
place for us to do some grueling manual labor—and an occasion to ob¬ 
serve our resistances and reactions while we worked. The summer heat 
was intense, the showers few, the lines to the common bathrooms long, 
and there were almost no rest periods. As we were aware, all of these 
physical and communal conditions were engineered by our teacher to 
bring out our personality “features” so that we could observe ourselves 
more clearly in the intensity of this living laboratory. 

One afternoon we were given a rare opportunity to have a forty- 
five-minute nap between chores. I had been assigned to scrape paint off 
the outside of the old hotel, and was soon covered from head to toe 
with tiny weathered chips. By the end of our work session, I was so 
tired and sweaty that I did not care how grubby I felt—J needed a nap, 
and as soon as we were dismissed from our chores, I was the first one 
upstairs and into bed. Most of the other guys who shared the dorm 
room with me dragged themselves in shortly after, and within five min¬ 
utes we were all settling down to sleep. 

Just then, our one remaining roommate, Alan, banged his way into 
the room. He had been assigned to look after the children of group 
members, and it was clear from the way he was flinging things around 
that he was mad that he could not get off duty earlier for a nap him¬ 
self. He did, however, have time to make enough noise so that no one 
else could rest, either. 



4 


PREFACE 


“Spirit is an invisible force 
made visible in all life." 

Maya Angelou 


But shortly after Alan came crashing through the door, something 
amazing happened to me: I saw my negative reactions to him rising in 
my body like a train pulling into a station, and I did not get on the train. 
In a moment of simple clarity, I saw Alan with his anger and frustra¬ 
tion—I saw his behavior for what it was without further elaboration— 
and I saw my anger “loading up” to let him have it—and I did not react 
to any of it. 

When I simply observed my reactions of anger and self-justifica¬ 
tion rather than acting on them, it was as if a veil were suddenly pulled 
from my eyes, and I opened up. Something that normally blocked my 
perception dissolved in an instant, and the world became completely 
alive. Alan was suddenly lovable, and the other guys were perfect in 
their reactions, whatever they were. Just as astonishingly, as I turned my 
head and looked out the window, I saw that everything around me was 
glowing from within. The sunlight on the trees, the swaying of the 
leaves in the wind, the slight rattle of the panes of glass in the old win¬ 
dow frame, were too beautiful for words. I was enthralled at how 
miraculous everything was. Absolutely everything was beautiful. 

I was still in this state of amazed ecstasy when I joined the rest of 
the group for a late-afternoon meditation. As the meditation deepened, 
I opened my eyes and looked around the room—and fell into what I 
can only describe as an inner vision, the impression of which has stayed 
with me for years. 

What I saw was that everyone there was a “being of light.” I saw 
clearly that everyone is made of light—that we are like forms of light— 
but that a crust has formed over it. The crust is black and rubbery like 
tar and has obscured the inner light that is everyone’s real, inner self. 
Some blotches of tar are very thick; other areas are thinner and more 
transparent. Those who have worked on themselves for longer have less 
tar and they radiate more of their inner light. Because of their personal 
history, others are covered with more tar and need a great deal of work 
to get free of it. 

After about an hour the vision grew dim and eventually shut down. 
When the meditation Was over, we had more work to do, and 1 rushed 
to take one of the most frequently avoided tasks, washing dishes in the 
steamy kitchen. But because the residue of ecstasy was still palpable, 
that chore, too, was a moment of bliss. 

I share this story not only because of its significance for me person¬ 
ally but because it graphically showed me that the things we are talking 
about in this book are real. If we observe ourselves truthfully and non- 
judgmentally, seeing the mechanisms of our personality in action, we 
can wake up, and our lives can be a miraculous unfolding ofbeauty and joy. 



PREFACE 


USING THIS BOOK 

The Enneagram can help us only if we are honest with ourselves. 
Thus, the elements of the system—and this book—are best used as a 
guide to self-observation and self-inquiry. We have designed this book 
with many practical features to help you use it this way, including: 


► Each types healing attitudes, gifts, and specific transforma¬ 
tional process 

► How to “observe and let go” of troublesome habits and reac¬ 
tions 

► How to work with the motivations of each type 

► Unconscious childhood messages 

► Therapeutic strategies for each type 

► “Spiritual jump starts,” Wake-up Calls, and Red Flags for each 
type 

► How to cultivate awareness in your daily life 

► Inner Work sessions and practices for each type 

I 

► How to use the system for continuing spiritual growth 


Since it is helpful to do the exercises in this book in a journal of 
some kind, you might want to dedicate a notebook or loose-leaf binder 
for this purpose. We suggest that you use your Inner Work Journal to 
record the insights that will come to you as you read about your per¬ 
sonality type as well as the other eight types. Most people find that this 
information also brings up all kinds of related issues, memories, and 
creative inspirations. 

As a first exercise in your Inner Work Journal, we suggest you write 
a biography of yourself—not an autobiography. Write about yourself in 
the third person—that is, as “he” or “she” rather than “I.” Tell your life 
story, beginning from your earliest years (or earlier, from what you 
know of your family history) up to the present time as if you were de¬ 
scribing someone else. You may also wish to dedicate a page in your 
Inner Work Journal to each decade, leaving room to add relevant 
thoughts and observations as you recall more. Do not worry about 
being literary or “correct.” The important thing is to see your life as a 
whole, as if told by someone else. 



6 


PREFACE 


What have been the defining moments of your life—your traumas 
and triumphs—those times when you knew that, for better or worse, 
your life would never be the same? Who have been the most significant 
people in your life—those who have acted as “witnesses” to your strug¬ 
gles and growth, those who have hurt you, and those who have been 
your understanding mentors and friends? Be as detailed as possible. 

Come back to your biography whenever you wish to add some¬ 
thing and as you move through this book and gain more insight into 
yourself. Your story will become richer and more meaningful as you 
understand yourself more deeply. 






CHAPTER I 


IDENTIFYING YOUR 
PERSONALITY TYPE 


THE ENNEAGRAM (pronounced “ANY-a-gram”) is a geometric figure 
that maps out the nine fundamental personality types of human nature 
and their complex interrelationships. It is a development of modern 
psychology that has roots in spiritual wisdom from many different an¬ 
cient traditions.- The word Enneagram comes from the Greek for 
“nine”— ennea —and “figure”— -grammos; thus, it is a “nine-pointed fig- 
ure. 

The modern Enneagram of personality type has been synthesized 
from many different spiritual and religious traditions. Much of it is a 
condensation of universal wisdom, the perennial philosophy accumu¬ 
lated by Christians, Buddhists, Muslims (especially the Sufis), and Jews 
(in the Kabbalah) for thousands of years. The heart of the Enneagram 
is the universal insight that human beings are spiritual presences incar¬ 
nated in the material world and yet mysteriously embodying the same 
life and Spirit as the Creator. Beneath surface differences and appear¬ 
ances, behind the veils of illusion, the light of Divinity shines in every 
individual. Various forces obscure that light, however, and each spiri¬ 
tual tradition has myths and doctrines to explain how mankind has lost 
its connection with the Divine. 

One of the great strengths of the Enneagram is that it steps aside 
from all doctrinal differences. It has helped individuals from virtually 
every major religious faith to rediscover their fundamental unity as 
spiritual beings. The Enneagram can therefore be enormously valuable 
in today’s world to show white and black, male and female, Catholic 
and Protestant, Arab and Jew, straight and gay, rich and poor that if 
they search beneath the surface differences that separate them, they will 
find an entirely new level of common humanity. With the help of the 
Enneagram, we will discover that Sixes are like all other Sixes—and 



THE ENNEAGRAM 


“The great metaphors from all 
spiritual traditions—grace, libera¬ 
tion, being born again, awakening 
from illusion—testify that it is 
possible to transcend the condi¬ 
tioning of my past and do a new 
thing." 


Sam Keen 



O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


I 0 T 

"Do not weep; do not wax in¬ 
dignant. Understand.” 

Spinoza 


“What can we gain by sailing 
to the moon if we are not able to 
cross the abyss that separates us 
from ourselves?” 

Thomas Merton 


HE WISDOM 

that they share the same values as others of their type. Ones who are 
black are much more like Ones who are white than they could have 
imagined, and so forth. A new level of community and compassion 
emerges that obliterates old ignorance and fear. 

The Enneagram is not a religion, however; nor does it interfere 
with a person’s religious orientation. It does not pretend to be a com¬ 
plete spiritual path. Nevertheless, it concerns itself with one element 
that is fundamental to all spiritual paths: self-knoivledge. 

Without self-knowledge, we will not get very far on our spiritual 
journey, nor will we be able to sustain whatever progress we have made. 
One of the great dangers of transformational work is that the ego at¬ 
tempts to sidestep deep psychological work by leaping into the tran¬ 
scendent too soon. This is because the ego always fancies itself much 
more “advanced” than it actually is. How many first-year novices have 
persuaded themselves that they are just about ready for sainthood? 
How many meditation students have been certain that they attained 
enlightenment in record-breaking time? 

Real self-knowledge is an invaluable guardian against such self- 
deception. The Enneagram takes us places (and makes real progress 
possible) because it starts working from where we actually are. As much 
as it reveals the spiritual heights that we are capable of attaining, it also 
sheds light clearly and nonjudgmentally on the aspects of our lives that 
are dark and unfree. If we are going to live as spiritual beings in the ma¬ 
terial world, then these are the areas we most need to explore. 

Presence (awareness, mindfulness), the practice of self-observation 
(gained from self-knowledge), and understanding what ones experiences 
mean (an accurate interpretation provided by a larger context such as a 
community or spiritual system) are the three basic elements needed for 
transformational work. Being supplies the first, you supply the second, 
and the Enneagram supplies the third. When these three come together, 
things can happen quickly. 


INTRODUCING THE NINE TYPES 

Work with the Enneagram starts when you identify your type and 
begin to understand its dominant issues. 

While we will recognize in ourselves behaviors of all nine types, 
our most defining characteristics are rooted in one of these types. On 
page 13 you will find a questionnaire, the Riso-Hudson QUEST, that 
can help you narrow down your basic type, and at the beginning of 
each type chapter there is a second independent test, the Riso-Hudson 
TAS or Type Attitude Sorter, to help you check your findings. 
Between these two tests and the descriptions and exercises in the type 



IDENTIFYING 


YOUR 


PERSONALITY 


TYPE 


chapters, you should be able to discover your type with a high degree 
of certainty. 

For now, read the following type names and brief descriptions to 
see which two or three strike you as being most typical of yourself. 
Keep in mind that the characteristics listed here are merely a few high¬ 
lights and do not represent the full spectrum of each personality type. 

Type One: The Reformer. The principled, idealistic type. Ones are 
ethical and conscientious, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They 
are teachers and crusaders, always striving to improve things but afraid 
of making a mistake. Well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try 
to maintain high standards but can slip into being critical and perfec- 
tionistic. They typically have problems with repressed anger and impa¬ 
tience. At their best, healthy Ones are wise, discerning, realistic, and 
noble, as well as morally heroic. 

Type Two: The Helper. The caring, interpersonal type. Twos are 
empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, 
and self-sacrificing, but they can also be sentimental, flattering, and 
people-pleasing. They are driven to be close to others, and they often 
do things for others in order to be needed. They typically have prob¬ 
lems taking care of themselves and acknowledging their own needs. At 
their best, healthy Twos are unselfish and altruistic and have uncondi¬ 
tional love for themselves and others. 

Type Three: The Achiever. The adaptable, success-oriented type. 
Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, compe¬ 
tent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven 
for personal advancement. Threes are often concerned about their 
image and what others think of them. They typically have problems 
with workaholism and competitiveness. At their best, healthy Threes are 
self-accepting, authentic, and everything they seem to be—role models 
who inspire others. 

Type Four: The Individualist. The romantic, introspective type. 
Fours are self-aware, sensitive, reserved, and quiet. They are 
self-revealing, emotionally honest, and personal, but they 
can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding them- rlw Chal 
selves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, 
they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways The Enthusiast 7 
of living. They typically have problems with self-indulgence 
and self-pity. At their best, healthy Fours are inspired and ( 

highly creative, able to renew themselves and transform 
their experiences. 

Type Five: The Investigator. The intense, cerebral lUt 

type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able 
to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas THE ENN 
and skills. Independent and innovative, they can become 


"If men knew themselves, God 
would heal and pardon them.” 

Pascal 


The Challenger 8 


TJic Loyalist 6 


The Peacemaker 

9 



The Investigator 


1 The Reformer 


2 The Helper 


3 The Achiever 


The Individualist 


THE ENNEAGRAM WITH RISO-HUDSON 
TYPE NAMES 



THE WISDOM 


OF THE ENNEAGRAM 


I 2 


preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They be¬ 
come detached, yet high-strung and intense. They typically have prob¬ 
lems with isolation, eccentricity, and nihilism. At their best, healthy 
Fives are visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time and able to see 
the world in an entirely new way. 

Type Six: The Loyalist. The committed, security-oriented type. 
Sixes are reliable, hardworking, and responsible, but they can also be 
defensive, evasive, and highly anxious—running on stress while com¬ 
plaining about it. They are often cautious and indecisive but can also 
be reactive, defiant, and rebellious. They typically have problems with 
self-doubt and suspicion. At their best, healthy Sixes are internally sta¬ 
ble, self-confident, and self-reliant, courageously supporting the weak 
and powerless. 

Type Seven: The Enthusiast. The busy, productive type. Sevens are 
versatile, optimistic, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and prac¬ 
tical, they can also be overextended, scattered, and undisciplined. They 
constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but they can become dis¬ 
tracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have prob¬ 
lems with superficiality and impulsiveness. At their best, healthy Sevens 
focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming joyous, highly ac¬ 
complished, and full of gratitude. 

Type Eight: The Challenger. The powerful, dominating type. 
Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, 
and decisive, they can also be proud and domineering. Eights feel that 
they must control their environment, often becoming confrontational 
and intimidating. They typically have problems with allowing them¬ 
selves to be close to others. At their best, healthy Eights are self-master¬ 
ing—they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, 
magnanimous, and sometimes historically great. 

Type Nine: The Peacemaker. The easygoing, self-effacing type. 
Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are good-natured, kind- 
hearted, easygoing, and supportive but can also be too willing to go 
along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to be with¬ 
out conflict but can tend to be complacent and minimize anything up¬ 
setting. They typically have problems with passivity and stubbornness. 
At their best, healthy Nines are indomitable and all-embracing; they are 
able to bring people together and heal conflicts. 



IDENTIFYING 


YOUR 


PERSONA LITY 


TYPE 


THE QUESTIONNAIRES 

The first questionnaire, which follows on pages 14-15, is the Riso- 
Hudson QUEST, the Qt/ick Enneagram Sorting Test. This test will 
help you narrow down the possibilities for your type in less than five 
minutes with about 70 percent accuracy. At the least, you will be able 
to identify the top two or three possibilities for your type. 

The second set of questionnaires is the Riso-Hudson TAS, or Type 
Attitude Sorter. At the beginning of each of the nine type chapters is 
a set of fifteen statements that are highly characteristic of the type 
under consideration. If you are interested in taking a self-scoring, 
computerized Enneagram Test, you can do so at our website, 
www.EnnengramInstitute.com. This test, the RHETI (Eiso-Z/udson 
Enneagram Type /ndicator, Version 2.5), involves choosing between 
144 paired statements and is.about 80 percent accurate. Beyond indi¬ 
cating the main type, it also produces a profile showing the relative 
strengths of each of the nine types in your personality. The RHETI usu¬ 
ally takes about forty-five minutes to complete. 

If you are new to the Enneagram, take the QUEST and then the 
TAS to see if there is a match. For instance, the QUEST might indi¬ 
cate that you are a Type Six. You could then go immediately to the fif¬ 
teen statements of the TAS for Type Six (in Chapter 12) to see'if you 
score high on those statements as well. If so, you are probably on the 
right track. 

We urge you, however, to continue to keep an open mind and to 
read the full chapter of Type Six (to continue the example) until more 
pieces fall into place. If the description and exercises have a strong im¬ 
pact on you, then you are almost certainly a Six. 

We are qualifying these statements slightly because it is always pos¬ 
sible to be wrong in one’s self-diagnosis—just as, unfortunately, it is 
easy to be wrongly diagnosed by an “Enneagram expert” of some sort. 
Therefore, take your time identifying your type. Read this book care¬ 
fully, and more important, live with the information fora while and talk 
about it with those who know you well. Remember that self-discovery 
is a process, and that the process does not end with discovering your 
type—in fact, that is only the beginning. 

When you do discover your type, you will know it. Waves of relief 
and embarrassment, of elation and chagrin, are likely to sweep over 
you. Things that you have always known unconsciously about yourself 
will suddenly become clear, and life patterns will emerge. You can be 
certain that when this happens, you have identified your personality 
type correctly. 



INSTRUCTIONS: 


THE 

RISO-HUDSON 

QUEST" 

The 

Quick 

Enneagram 

Sorting 

Test 


GROUP I CHOICE 


For the QUEST to yield a correct result, it is important that you 
read and follow these few simple instructions. 

► Select one paragraph in each of the following two groups of 
statements that best reflects your general attitudes and behaviors, as 
you have been most of your life. 

► You do not have to agree completely with every word or state¬ 
ment in the paragraph you select! You may agree with only 80 to 90 
percent of a particular paragraph and still select that paragraph over the 
other two in the group. However, you should agree with the general 
tone and overall “philosophy” of the paragraph you select. You will 
probably disagree with some part of each of the paragraphs. Do not re¬ 
ject a paragraph because of a single word or phrase! Again, look at the 
overall picture. 

► Do not overanalyze your choices. Select the paragraph that your 
“gut feeling” says is the right one for you, even though you may not 
agree with 100 percent of it. The general thrust and feeling of the para¬ 
graph as a whole is more important than individual elements of it. Go 
with your intuition. 

► If you cannot decide which paragraph best fits you in one of the 
groups, you may make two choices, but only in one group; for example, C 
in group I, and X and Y in group II. 

► Enter the letter you have selected for that group in the appro¬ 
priate box. 


GROUP I 

A. I have tended to be fairly independent and assertive: I’ve 
felt that life works best when you meet it head-on. I set my own 
goals, get involved, and want to make things happen. I don’t like 
sitting around-—I want to achieve something big and have an im¬ 
pact. I don’t necessarily seek confrontations, but I don’t let people 
push me around, either. Most of the time I know what I want, 
and I go for it. I tend to work hard and to play hard. 

B. I have tended to be quiet and am used to being on my 
own. I usually don’t draw much attention to myself socially, and 
it’s generally unusual for me to assert myself all that forcefully. I 




don’t feel comfortable taking the lead or being as competitive as 
others. Many would probably say that I’m something of a 
dreamer—a lot of my excitement goes on in my imagination. 1 
can be quite content without feeling I have to be active all the 
time. 

C. I have tended to be extremely responsible and dedicated. 
I feel terrible if I don’t keep my commitments and do what’s ex¬ 
pected of me. I want people to know that I’m there for them and 
that I’ll do what I believe is best for them. I’ve often made great 
personal sacrifices for the sake of others, whether they know it or 
not. I often don’t take adequate care of myself—I do the work 
that needs to be done and relax (and do what I really want) if 
there’s time left. 


GROUP II 

X. I am a person who usually maintains a positive outlook 
and feels that things will work out for the best. I can usually find 
something to be enthusiastic about and different ways to occupy 
myself. I like being around people and helping others to be 
happy—I enjoy sharing my own well-being with them. (I don’t al¬ 
ways feel great, but I try not to show it to anyone!) However, stay¬ 
ing positive has sometimes meant that I’ve put off dealing with 
my own problems for too long. 

Y. I am a person who has strong feelings about things— 
most people can tell when I’m unhappy about something. I can 
be guarded with people, but I’m more sensitive than I let on. I 
want to know where I stand with others and who and what I can 
count on—it’s pretty clear to most people where they stand with 
me. When I’m upset about something, I want others to respond 
and to get as worked up as I am. I know the rules, but I don’t want 
people telling me what to do. I want to decide for myself. 

Z. I tend to be self-controlled and logical—I am uncomfort¬ 
able dealing with feelings. I am efficient—even perfectionistic— 
and prefer working on my own. When there are problems or 

personal conflicts, I try not to bring my feelings into the situation. - 

Some say I’m too cool and detached, but I don’t want my emo¬ 
tional reactions to distract me from what’s really important to me. GROUP II CHOICE 

I usually don’t show my reactions when others “get to me.” 

To interpret your answer, see p. 18. 




I 6 T 

“If you hate a person, you hate 
something in him that is part of 
yourself. What isn’t part of our¬ 
selves doesn’t disturb us." 

Herman Hesse 


E WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND ABOUT TYPE 

► While everyone has a certain mix of types in their overall per¬ 
sonality, one particular pattern or style is our “home base,” and we re¬ 
turn to it over and over. Our basic type stays the same throughout life. 
While people change and develop in numerous ways, they do not 
change from one basic personality type to another. 

► The descriptions of the personality types are universal and 
apply equally to males and females. Of course, males and females will 
express the same attitudes, traits, and tendencies somewhat differently, 
but the basic issues of the type remain the same. 

► Not everything in the description of your basic type will apply 
to you all the time. This is because we fluctuate constantly among the 
healthy, average, and unhealthy traits that make up our personality 
type, as we will see in our discussion of the Levels of Development 
(Chapter 6). We will also see that increasing maturation or increasing 
stress have a significant influence on how we are expressing our type. 

► Although we have given each type a descriptive title (such as 
the Reformer, the Helper, and so forth), in practice we prefer to use its 
Enneagram number. Numbers are value neutral—they provide an un¬ 
biased, shorthand way of referring to the type. Furthermore, the nu¬ 
merical ranking of the types is not significant: being a type with a 
higher number is not better than being a type with a lower number. 
(For example, it is not better to be a Nine than a One.) 

► None of the personality types is better or worse than any 
other—all types have unique assets and liabilities, strengths and weak¬ 
nesses. Some types can be more valued than others in a given culture 
or group, however. As you learn more about all of the types, you will 
see that just as each has unique capacities, each has different limita¬ 
tions. 

► No matter what type you are, you have all nine types-in you, to 
some degree. To explore them all and see them all operating in you is to 
see the full spectrum of human nature. This awareness will give you far 
more understanding of and compassion for others, because you will 
recognize many aspects of their particular habits and reactions in your¬ 
self. It is much more difficult to condemn the aggressiveness of Eights 
or the disguised neediness of Twos, for instance, if we are aware of ag¬ 
gressiveness and neediness in ourselves. If you investigate all nine types 
in yourself, you will see how interdependent they are—just as the 
Enneagram symbol represents them. 



IDENTIFYING 


YOUR 


PERSONALITY TYPE 


TYPING OTHERS 

We feel strongly that it is always more problematic to use the 
Enneagram to type others than it is to use it on ourselves. Everyone has 
blind spots, and there are so many possible variations among the types 
that it is inevitable that we simply will not be familiar with all of them. 
Because of our own personal prejudices, it is also very likely that we 
have an outright aversion to some types. Remember the Enneagram is 
to be used primarily for self-discovery and self-understanding. 

Furthermore, knowing our type or that of someone else can pro¬ 
vide us with many valuable insights, but it cannot begin to tell us 
everything about the person, any more than knowing a person’s race or 
nationality does. In itself, type tells us nothing about the persons par¬ 
ticular history, intelligence, talent, honesty, integrity, character, or 
many other factors. On the other hand, type does tell us a great deal 
about how we view the world, the kinds of choices we are likely to 
make, the values we hold, what motivates us, how we react to people, 
how we respond to stress, and many other important things. As we be¬ 
come familiar with the personality patterns revealed by this system, we 
more easily appreciate perspectives that are different from our own. 


THE DEEPER PURPOSE OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

Identifying oneself as one of nine personality types can be revolu¬ 
tionary. For the first time in our lives, we may see the pattern and over¬ 
all rationale for the way we have lived and behaved. At a certain point, 
however, “knowing our type” becomes incorporated into our self-image 
and may actually begin to get in the way of our continued growth. 

Indeed, some students of the Enneagram have become attached to 
their personality type—“Of course I get paranoid! After all, I’m a Six,” 
or “You know how we Sevens are! We just have to stay on the go!” 
Justifying questionable behavior or adopting a more rigid identity are 
misuses of the Enneagram. 

But by helping us see how trapped we are in our trances and how 
estranged we arc from our Essential nature, the Enneagram invites us to 
look deeply into the mystery of our true identity. It is meant to initiate a 
process of inquiry that can lead us to a more profound truth about our¬ 
selves and our place in the world. If, however, we use the Enneagram 
simply to arrive at a better self-image, we will stop the process of un¬ 
covering (or, actually, recovering) our true nature. While knowing our 
type gives us important information, that information is merely an em¬ 
barkation point for a much greater journey. In short, knowing our type 
is not the final destination. 


I 7 

“He who knows others is 
learned. He who knows himself is 
wise.” 

Lao T zu 



18 THE WI SDOM OF. T HE E NNEAGRAM 

The aim of this Work is to stop the automatic reactions of the per¬ 
sonality by bringing awareness to it. Only by bringing insight and clar¬ 
ity to the mechanisms of personality can we awaken—which is why we 
have written this book. The more we see the mechanical reactions of 
our personality, the less identified with them we become and the more 
freedom we have. That is what the Enneagram is all about. 


INTERPRETING THE QUEST (from page 14-15) 

Together the two 
letters you have se¬ 
lected form a two- 
letter code. For 
example, choosing 
paragraph C in 
group I, and para¬ 
graph Y in group II, 
produces the two- 
letter code CY. 

To find out which 
basic personality type 
the QUEST indi¬ 
cates you are, see the 
QUEST codes to the 
right: 


2-Digit Code 

Type 

Type Name and Key Characteristics 

AX 

7 

The Enthusiast: Upbeat, accomplished, impulsive 

AY 

8 

The Challenger: Self-confident, decisive, domineering 

AZ 

3 

The Achiever: Adaptable, ambitious, image-conscious 

BX 

9 

The Peacemaker: Receptive, reassuring, complacent 

BY 

4 

The Individualist: Intuitive, aesthetic, self-absorbed 

BZ 

5 

The Investigator: Perceptive, innovative, detached 

CX 

2 

The Helper: Caring, generous, possessive 

CY 

6 

The Loyalist: Engaging, responsible, defensive 

CZ 

1 

The Reformer: Rational, principled, self-controlled 



CHAPTER 2 


▼ 

ANCIENT ROOTS, 
MODERN INSIGHTS 


THE MODERN ENNEAGRAM of personality types does not come "Learn what you are and be 

from any single source. It is a hybrid, a modern amalgam, from a num- such ' 

ber of ancient wisdom traditions combined with modern psychology. Pindar 

Various authors have speculated about its origins, and Enneagram en¬ 
thusiasts have created a good deal of folklore about its history and de¬ 
velopment, but much of the information being passed around is 
unfortunately misleading. Many early authors, for example, attributed 
the entire system to Sufi masters, which we now know is not the case. 

To understand the Enneagram’s history, it is necessary to distin¬ 
guish between the Enneagram symbol and the nine personality types. It is 
true that the Enneagram symbol is ancient, dating back some 2,500 
years or more. Likewise, the roots of the ideas that eventually led to 
the development of the psychology of the nine types go back at least 
as far as the fourth century A.D. and perhaps further. It was not until 
the last few decades, however, that these two sources of insight came 
together. 

The exact origins of the Enneagram symbol have been lost to his¬ 
tory; we do not know where it came from, any more than we know 
who discovered the wheel or how to write. It is said to have originated 
in Babylon around 2500 B.C., but there is little direct evidence that this 
is so. Many of the abstract ideas connected with the Enneagram, not to 
mention its geometry and mathematical derivation, suggest that it may 
well have roots in classical Greek thought. The theories underlying the 
diagram can be found in the ideas of Pythagoras, Plato, and some of 
the Neoplatonic philosophers. In any case, it is clearly a part of the 
Western tradition that gave rise to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as 
well as Hermetic and Gnostic philosophy, aspects of which can be 
found in all three of these great prophetic religions. 



2 . 0 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


“Take the understanding of the 
East and the knowledge of the 
West—and then seek.” 

Gurdjieff 


“Remember yourself always 
and everywhere.” 

Gurdjieff 


There is no question, however, that the person responsible for 
bringing the Enneagram symbol to the modern world was George 
Ivanovich Gurdjieff. Gurdjieff was a Greek-Armenian born around 
1875; as a young man, he became interested in esoteric knowledge and 
was convinced that a complete science for transforming the human 
psyche had been developed by the ancients but that this knowledge had 
subsequently been lost. Along with a handful of friends who shared his 
passion for recovering this lost science of human transformation, 
Gurdjieff spent the early part of his life attempting to piece together 
whatever ancient wisdom he could find. Together these friends formed 
a group called the Seekers After Truth (SAT) and decided that they 
would each explore different teachings and systems of thought inde¬ 
pendently and then regroup periodically to share what they had 
learned. They traveled widely, visiting Egypt, Afghanistan, Greece, 
Persia, India, and Tibet, spending time in monasteries and remote 
sanctuaries, learning everything they could about ancient wisdom tra¬ 
ditions. 

Somewhere in his travels, possibly in Afghanistan or Turkey, 
Gurdjieff encountered the symbol of the Enneagram. Thereafter he de¬ 
veloped his own synthesis of what he and other SAT members had dis¬ 
covered. He ended his many years of searching just before World War 
I and began teaching in St. Petersburg and Moscow, immediately at¬ 
tracting an enthusiastic audience. 

The system that Gurdjieff taught was a vast and complex study of 
psychology, spirituality, and cosmology that aimed at helping students 
understand their place in the universe and their objective purpose in 
life. Gurdjieff also taught that the Enneagram was the central and most 
important symbol in his philosophy. He stated that a person did not 
understand anything completely until he or she understood it in terms 
of the Enneagram, that is, until he or she could correctly place the ele¬ 
ments of a process at the correct points on the Enneagram, thereby see¬ 
ing the interdependent and mutually sustaining parts of the whole. The 
Enneagram taught by Gurdjieff was therefore primarily a model of nat¬ 
ural processes, not a psychological typology. 

Gurdjieff explained that the Enneagram symbol has three parts 
that represent three Divine laws, which govern all of existence. The first 
of these is the circle, a universal mandala, used in almost every culture. 
The circle refers to unity, wholeness, and oneness and symbolizes the 
idea that God Is One, the distinguishing feature of the major Western 
religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. 

Within the circle we find the next symbol, the triangle. 
Traditionally, in Christianity, this refers to the Trinity of Father, Son, 
and Holy Spirit. Similarly, the Kabbalah, an esoteric teaching of 
Judaism, teaches that God initially manifests Himself in the universe as 



ANCIENT 


ROOTS, 


MODERN 


INSIGHTS 


2 I 


three emanations or “spheres,” the Sefirot (Kether, Binah, and 
Hokmah) named in the Kabbalah’s principal symbol, the Tree of Life. 
We can also see reflections of the trinitarian idea in other religions: the 
Buddhists talk about Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, the Hindus talk 
about Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva, and the Taoists talk about Heaven, 
Earth, and Man. 

Quite strikingly almost all of the. major world religions teach that 
the universe is a manifestation not of duality, as much of Western logic 
teaches, but of trinity. Our usual way of looking at reality is based on 
pairs of opposites such as good and bad, black and white, male and fe¬ 
male, introvert and extrovert, and so forth. The ancient traditions, 
however, do not see man and woman, but man, woman, and child. 
Things are not black or white, but black, white, and gray. 

Gurdjieff called this phenomenon “the Law of Three” and said that 
everything that exists is the result of the interaction of three forces 
(whatever they may be in a given situation or dimension). Even the dis¬ 
coveries of modern physics seem to support the idea of the Law ofThree. 
On the subatomic scale, atoms are made of protons, electrons, and neu¬ 
trons, and rather than there being four fundamental forces of nature as 
was once thought, physics has now discovered that there are really only 
three—the strong force, the weak force, and electromagnetism. 

The third part of this triple symbol is the hexad (the figure tracing 
the numbers 1-4-2-8-5-7). This figure symbolizes what Gurdjieff called 
“the Law of Seven,” which has to do with process and development 
over time. It states that nothing is static; everything is moving and be¬ 
coming something else. Even rocks and stars eventually become trans¬ 
formed. Everything is changing, recycling and evolving or 
devolving—although in lawful and predictable ways according to their 
own nature and the forces that are acting on them. The days of the 
week, the Periodic Table, and the Western musical octave are all based 
on the Law of Seven. 

When we put these three elements together (the circle, the triangle, 
and the hexad), we get the Enneagram. It is a symbol that shows the 



THE THREE PARTS OF THE ENNEAGRAM SYMBOL 



2 2 


THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 



wholeness of a thing (the circle), how its identity is the re¬ 
sult of the interaction of three forces (the triangle), and 
how it evolves or changes over time (the hexad). 

Gurdjieff taught the Enneagram through a series of 
sacred dances, explaining that it should be thought of as 
a living symbol that was moving and dynamic, not as sta¬ 
tic. However, nowhere in the published writings of 
Gurdjieff and his students did he teach the Enneagram of 
personality types. The origins of that Enneagram are 
more recent and are based on two principal modern 


OSCAR ICHAZO’S ENNEAGRAM suuiccs. 

OF THE PASSIONS (DEADLY SINS) The first is ° scar Ichazo - Llke Gurdjieff, as a young 

man, Ichazo was fascinated with uncovering lost knowl¬ 
edge. In his childhood he used his remarkable intelli¬ 
gence to absorb information from his uncle’s vast library of 
philosophical and metaphysical texts. When Ichazo was still fairly 
young, he traveled from his home in Bolivia to Buenos Aires, 
Argentina, and later to other parts of the world in search of ancient wis¬ 
dom. After traveling in the Middle East and elsewhere, he returned to 
South America and began to distill what he had learned. 

Ichazo researched and synthesized the many elements of the 
Enneagram until, beginning in the 1950s, he discovered the connec¬ 
tion between the symbol and the personality types. The nine types that 
he linked with the Enneagram symbol come from an ancient tradition 
of remembering nine Divine attributes as they are reflected in human na¬ 
ture. These ideas began with the Neoplatonists, if not earlier, and ap¬ 
peared in Plotinus’ The Enmeads in the third century A.D. They found 
their way into the Christian tradition as their opposites: the distortion 
of the Divine attributes became the Seven Deadly Sins (or “Capital 
Sins” or “Passions”) plus two others (fear and deceit). 

Common to both the Enneagram and the Seven Deadly Sins is the 
idea that while we have all of them in us, one in particular crops up over 
and over again. It is the root of our imbalance and the way we become 
trapped in ego. Ichazo traced early ideas about the nine Divine attri¬ 
butes from Greece to the desert fathers of the fourth century who first 
developed the concept of the Seven Deadly Sins, and from there into 
medieval literature, including The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer and 
Dante’s Purgatorio. 

Ichazo also explored the ancient Jewish tradition of the Kabbalah. 
This mystical teaching was developed in Jewish communities in France 
and Spain in the twelfth to fourteenth centuries of our era, although it 
had antecedents in ancient Jewish mystical traditions, as well as in 
Gnosticism and Neoplatonic philosophy. Central to Kabbalistic phi¬ 
losophy is a symbol called the Tree of Life (Etz Hayim ) which, like the 


THE NINE PASSIONS 

The idea of the Deadly Sins (also called die “Passions”) is best understood if we think of the 
word sin .not as something bad or evil, but as the tendency to “miss the mark” in some way. The 
Passions represent the nine main ways that we lose our center and become distorted in our think¬ 
ing, feeling, and doing. 


1 

2 

3 

4 

5 

6 

7 

8 


ANGER 


PRIDE 


DECEIT 


ENVY 


AVARICE 


FEAR 


GLUTTONY 


LUST 


This Passion might be more accurately described as Resentment. Anger in itself 
is not the problem, but in Ones the anger is repressed, leading to continual 
frustration and dissatisfaction with themselves and with the world. 

Pride refers to an inability or unwillingness to acknowledge one’s own suffer¬ 
ing. Twos deny many of their own needs while attempting to “help” others. 
This Passion could also be described as Vainglory —pride in one’s own virtue. 

Deceit means deceiving ourselves into believing that we are only the ego self. 
When we believe this, we put our efforts into developing our egos instead of 
our true nature. We could also call this passion Vanity, our attempt to make the 
ego feel valuable without turning to our spiritual source. 

Envy is based on the feeling that something fundamental is missing. Envy leads 
Fours to feel that others possess qualities that they lack. Fours long for what is 
absent but often fail to notice the many blessings in their lives. 

Fives feel that they lack inner resources and that too much interaction with 
others will lead to catastrophic depletion.This Passion leads Fives to withhold 
themselves from contact with the world. Thus they hold on to their resources 
and minimize their needs. 

This Passion might be more accurately described as Anxiety because anxiety leads 
us to be afraid of things that are not actually happening now. Sixes walk around 
in a constant state of apprehension and worry about possible future events. 

Gluttony refers to the insatiable desire to “fill oneself up” with experiences. 
Sevens attempt to overcome feelings of inner emptiness by pursuing a variety 
of positive, stimulating ideas and activities, but they never feel that they have 
enough. 

Lust does not only refer to sexual lust; Eights are “lusty” in that they are driven 
by a constant need for intensity, control, and self-extension. Lust causes Eights 
to try to push everything in their lives—to assert themselves willfully. 


9 


SLOTH 


Sloth does not simply mean laziness, since Nines can be quite active and ac¬ 
complished. Rather, it refers to a desire to be unaffected by life. It is an unwill¬ 
ingness to arise with the fullness of one’s vitality to fully engage with life. 



2 4 


THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 



THE TREE OF LIFE 
(ETZ HAYIM) 


Enneagram, contains the ideas of unity, trinity, and a process of devel¬ 
opment involving seven parts. 

In a flash of genius, Ichazo was able to place all of this material 
properly, in the right sequence, on the Enneagram symbol for the first 
time in the mid-1950s. It was only then that the different streams of 
transmission came together to form the basic template of the 
Enneagram as we know it today. 

In 1970 noted psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo, who was developing a 
program of gestalt therapy at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, 
and a number of other thinkers in the human potential movement trav¬ 
eled to Arica, Chile, to study with Ichazo. Ichazo was directing an in¬ 
tensive forty-day program that he had designed to lead students to 
self-realization. One of the first things he taught was the Enneagram, to¬ 
gether with the nine types or, as he called them, “ego fixations.” 

The Enneagram immediately captivated a number of people in the 
group, particularly Naranjo, who returned to California and began to 
teach it in conjunction with other psychological systems that he had 
studied. Naranjo became interested in correlating the Enneagram types 
with the psychiatric categories he was familiar with, and he began to ex¬ 
pand Ichazo’s brief sketches of the types. One way he demonstrated the 
validity of the system was by gathering together panels of people who 
identified with a particular type, or whose psychiatric categories were 
known, interviewing them to highlight their similarities and to elicit 
further information. For instance, he would gather together all the peo¬ 
ple in his group who had obsessive-compulsive personalities and ob¬ 
serve how their responses fit with the descriptions of personality type 
One, and so forth. 

Naranjo’s method of using panels to understand types is not an an¬ 
cient oral tradition as is sometimes claimed; nor does the Enneagram 
of personality come from a body of knowledge that has been passed 
down to us from an oral source. The use of panels began with Naranjo 
in the early 1970s, and is but one way of teaching and illuminating the 
Enneagram. 

Naranjo began teaching an early version of the system to private 
groups in Berkeley, California, and it spread rapidly from there. The 
Enneagram was taught by enthusiasts in the San Francisco Bay Area as 
well as in Jesuit retreat houses across North America, where one of us, 
Don, then a Jesuit seminarian, learned the early material. Since the 
fundamental work of Ichazo and Naranjo, a number of others, includ¬ 
ing the authors, have been developing the Enneagram and discovering 
many new facets of it. 

Our work has primarily involved developing the psychological 
basis of the types by filling out the original very brief descriptions and 
by showing how the Enneagram relates to other psychological and 


ANCIENT 


ROOTS. 


MODERN 


INSIGHTS 


2 5 


spiritual systems. Don’s conviction has always been that until the de¬ 
scriptions of the types were fully and accurately worked out, the 
Enneagram would be of little real use to anyone—and would, in fact, 
become a source of misinformation and misguided attempts at 
growth. 

A major breakthrough came in 1977 when he discovered the Levels 
of Development. The Levels revealed the gradations of growth and de¬ 
terioration that people actually move through in their lives. They 
showed which traits and motivations went with which types, and why. 
Most profoundly, they indicated the degrees of our identification with 
our personality and our consequent lack of freedom. He also empha¬ 
sized the psychological motivations of the types, as distinct from the 
impressionistic descriptions which were prevalent when he began 
working. He developed these and other ideas, such as the correlations 
with other psychological typologies, and presented his findings in 
Personality Types (1987) and in Understanding the Enneagram (1990). 

Russ joined Don in 1991, initially to assist in developing an 
Enneagram type questionnaire, which ultimately became the Riso- 
Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI), and later worked on the 
revisions to Personality Types (1996). Russ has brought his understand¬ 
ing and experience of the traditions and practices underlying 
Enneagram theory to this work. Subsequently, he further developed the 
ideas Don had pioneered, uncovering many of the deeper structures of 
the types as well as many of the systems implications for personal 
growth. Since 1991, both of us have been teaching workshops and sem¬ 
inars around the world, and many of the insights in this book have 
come from our experience of working with our students. We have had 
the privilege of working with people from every inhabited continent 
and from every major religious background. We continue to be amazed 
and impressed by the universality and practicality of the Enneagram. 



2 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


▼ ▼ T 

THE STORY OF THE LOCKSMITH: A SUFI TALE 

Once there lived a metalworker, a locksmith, who was unjustly accused of crimes and was sen¬ 
tenced to a deep, dark prison. After he had been there awhile, his wife who loved him very much 
went to the King and beseeched him that she might at least give him a prayer rug so he could ob¬ 
serve his five prostrations every day. The King considered that a lawful request, so he let the 
woman bring her husband a prayer rug. The prisoner was thankful to get the rug from his wife, 
and every day he faithfully did his prostrations on the rug. 

Much later, the man escaped from prison, and when people asked him how he got out, he ex¬ 
plained that after years of doing his prostrations and praying for deliverance from the prison, he 
began to see what was right in front of his nose. One day he suddenly saw that his wife had woven 
into the prayer rug the pattern of the lock that imprisoned him. Once he realized this and un¬ 
derstood that all the information he needed to escape was already in his possession, he began to 
make friends with his guards. He also persuaded the guards that they all would have a better life 
if they cooperated and escaped the prison together. They agreed since, although they were guards, 
they realized that they were in prison, too. They also wished to escape, but they had no means to 
do so. 

So the locksmith and his guards decided on the following plan: they would bring him pieces 
of metal, and he would fashion useful items from them to sell in the marketplace. Together they 
would amass resources for their escape, and from the strongest piece of metal they could acquire, 
the locksmith would fashion a key. 

One night, when everything had been prepared, the locksmith and his guards unlocked the 
prison and walked out into the cool night where his beloved wife was waiting for him. He left 
the prayer rug behind so that any other prisoner who was clever enough to read the pattern of 
the rug could also make his escape. Thus, the locksmith was reunited with his loving wife, his 
former guards became his friends, and everyone lived in harmony. Love and skillfulness prevailed. 

This traditional Sufi teaching story, from Idries Shah, can symbolize our study of the 
Enneagram: The lock is our personality, the prayer rug is the Enneagram, and the key is the 
Work. Note that although the wife brings the rug, in order to get the tools, the locksmith has to 
create something useful for his guards. He cannot get out alone, or for nothing. Furthermore, 
during the whole time he was praying for deliverance, the means of his liberation was literally 
“right under his nose,” although he never saw the pattern or understood its meaning. One day, 
however, he woke up, saw the pattern, and then had the means to escape. 

The heart of the story is clear: each of us is in prison. We have only to awaken to “read” the 
pattern of the lock that will allow'us to escape. 


▲ 


A 





CHAPTER 3 


▼ 

ESSENCE AND 
PERSONALITY 


the CORE TRUTH that the Enneagram conveys to us is that we are 
much more than our personality. Our personalities are no more than the fa¬ 
miliar, conditioned parts of a much wider range of potentials that we all 
possess. Beyond the limitations of our personalities, each of us exists as a 
vast, largely unrecognized quality of Being or Presence—what is called our 
Essence. In spiritual language we could say that within each person is an in¬ 
dividual spark of the Divine, although we have forgotten this fundamental 
truth because we have fallen asleep to our true nature. We do not experience 
our own Divine nature; nor do we experience others as manifestations of 
the Divine. Instead, we often become hard, even cynical, treating others as 
objects to be defended against or used for our own gratification. 

Most of us have some notion about what personality is, but the idea of 
Essence is probably foreign to us. When we talk about Essence, we mean it 
in the literal sense of the word—what we fundamentally are, our Essential 
self the ground of Being in us. {Spirit is another appropriate word.) 

It is also important to distinguish Essence, or spirit, from “soul.” 
The fundamental ground of our Being is Essence or Spirit, but it takes 
a dynamic form we call “the soul.” Our personality is a particular as¬ 
pect of our soul. Our soul is “made of” Essence or Spirit. If Spirit were 
water, soul would be a particular lake or river, and personality would be 
waves on its surface—or frozen chunks of ice in the river. 

Generally, we do not experience our Essence and its many aspects 
because our awareness is so dominated by our personality. But as we 
learn to bring awareness to our personality, it becomes more transpar¬ 
ent, and we are able to experience our Essence more directly. We still 
function in the world but with a growing realization of our connection 
with Divinity. We become aware that we are part of a Divine Presence 
all around us and in us that is constantly and miraculously unfolding. 


“The spirit is the true self, not 
that physical figure which can be 
pointed out by your finger.” 

Cicero 


“Spiritual development is a long 
and arduous journey, an adventure 
through strange lands full of sur¬ 
prises, joy, beauty, difficulties, and 
even dangers." 

Roberto Assagiou 



THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


2 8 


The Enneagram can help us see what prevents us from remember¬ 
ing this deep truth about who we really are, the truth of our spiritual 
nature. It does this by providing highly specific insights into our psy¬ 
chological and spiritual makeup. The Enneagram also helps us by giv¬ 
ing us a direction in which to work, but only as long as we remember 
that it is not telling us who we are, but how we have limited who we 
are. Remember, the Enneagram does not put us in a box, it shows us the 
box we are already in—and the way out. 


SACRED PSYCHOLOGY 


“Man wishes to be happy even 
when he so lives as to make hap¬ 
piness impossible.” 

St. Augustine 


One of the profound lessons of the Enneagram is that psychological 
integration and spiritual realization are not separate processes. Without 
spirituality, psychology cannot really free us or lead us to the deepest 
truths about ourselves, and without psychology, spirituality can lead to 
grandiosity, delusion, and an attempt to escape from reality. The 
Enneagram is neither dry psychology nor fuzzy mysticism but a tool for 
transformation that uses the clarity and insight of psychology as a point 
of entry into a profound and universal spirituality. Thus, in a literal sense, 
the Enneagram is “the bridge between psychology and spirituality.™” 

The core of this sacred psychology is that our basic type reveals the 
psychological mechanisms by which we forget our true nature—our Divine 
Essence—the way in which we abandon ourselves. Our personalities draw 
upon the capacities of our inborn temperament to develop defenses 
and compensations for where we have been hurt in childhood. In order 
to survive whatever difficulties we encountered at that time, we unwit¬ 
tingly mastered a limited repertoire of strategies, self-images, and be¬ 
haviors that allowed us to cope with and survive in our early 
environment. Each of us therefore has become an “expert” at a partic¬ 
ular form of coping which, if used excessively, also becomes the core of 
the dysfunctional area of our personality. 

As the defenses and strategies of our personality become more 
structured, they cause us to lose contact with our direct experience of 
ourselves, our Essence. The personality becomes the source of our iden¬ 
tity rather than contact with our Being. Our sense of ourselves is based 
increasingly on internal images, memories, and learned behaviors 
rather than on the spontaneous expression of our true nature. This loss 
of contact with our Essence causes deep anxiety, taking the form of one 
of the nine Passions. Once in place, these Passions, which are usually 
unconscious and invisible to us, begin to drive the personality. 

Understanding our personality type and its dynamics, therefore, of¬ 
fers an especially potent approach to the unconscious, to our wounds 
and compensations, and ultimately, to our healing and transformation. 



ESSENCE 


AND 


PERSONALITY 


2 9 


The Enneagram shows us where our personality most “trips us up.” It 
highlights both what is possible for us, as well as how self-defeating and 
unnecessary many of our old reactions and behaviors are. This is why, 
when we identify with the personality, we are settling on being much less 
than who we really are. It is as though we were given a mansion to live in, 
with rich furnishings and beautifully kept grounds, but have confined 
ourselves to a small dark closet in the basement. Most of us have even for¬ 
gotten that the rest of the mansion exists, or that we are really its owner. 

As spiritual teachers through the ages have pointed out, we have fallen 
asleep to ourselves and to our own lives. Most of the day we walk around pre¬ 
occupied by ideas, anxieties, worries, and mental pictures. Seldom are we 
present to ourselves and to our immediate experience. As we begin to 
work on ourselves, however, we begin to see that our attention has been 
taken or “magnetized” by the preoccupations and features of our person¬ 
ality, and that we are actually sleepwalking through much of life. This 
view of things is contrary to common sense and often feels insulting to the 
way we see ourselves—as self-determining, conscious, and in control. 

At the same time, our personality is not “bad.” Our personality is an 
important part of our development and is necessary for the refinement 
of our Essential nature. The problem is that we become stuck in per¬ 
sonality and do not know how to move on to the next phase. This is not 
the result of any inherent flaw in ourselves, rather it is an arrested devel¬ 
opment that occurs because almost no one in our formative years was 
aware that any more was possible. Our parents and teachers may have 
had some glimmers of their true nature, but like us, they generally did 
not recognize them, much less live as expressions of them. 

Thus one of the most transformational insights that the Enneagram 
can provide is the realization that ive are not our personality. To begin to 
grasp this is to undergo a transformation of our sense of self. When we 
begin to understand that we are not our personality, we also begin to re¬ 
alize that we are spiritual beings who have a personality and who are 
manifesting themselves through that personality. When we stop identi¬ 
fying with our personality and stop defending it, a miracle happens: our 
Essential nature spontaneously arises and transforms us. 


. . the neurotic process . . . 
is a problem of the self. It is a 
process of abandoning the real self 
for an idealized one; of trying to ac¬ 
tualize this pseudoself instead of 
our given human potentials.” 

Karen Horney 


“The greatest happiness is to 
know the source of unhappiness.” 

Dostoyevsky 


PERSONALITY DOES NOT GO AWAY 

The purpose of the Enneagram is not to help us get rid of our per¬ 
sonality. Even if we could, it would not be very helpful. This is reas¬ 
suring to those of us who fear that if we let go of our personality, we 
will lose our identity or become less capable or effective. 

In fact, exactly the opposite is true. When we get in touch with our 
Essence, we do not lose our personality. It becomes more transparent 



3 0 T 


“Whenever a man awakes, he 
awakes from the false assumption 
that he has always been awake, 
and therefore the master of his 
thoughts, feelings, and actions.” 

Henri Tracol 


"The very things we wish to 
avoid, neglect, and flee from turn 
out to be the ‘prima materia’ from 
which all real growth comes.” 

Andrew Harvey 


HE WISDOM O. F THE ENNEAGRAM 

and flexible, something that helps us live rather than something that 
takes over our lives. Moments of “flow’ and “peak performance” arise 
when we arc most present and aware—qualities of Essence—whereas 
the manifestations of our personality often cause us to overlook things, 
make mistakes, and create problems of all kinds. For example, if we are 
particularly anxious about a trip, we will likely pack the wrong clothes 
or forget important articles. Learning how to stay relaxed and present 
under everyday pressures can make our lives easier. 

As we become less identified with our personality, it becomes a 
smaller part of the totality of who we are. The personality still exists, 
but there is a more active intelligence, a sensitivity, and a Presence un¬ 
derlying it that uses the personality as a vehicle rather than being driven 
by it. As we identify more with our Essence, we see that we do not lose 
our identity—we actually find it. 

It would be misleading, however, to suggest that one experience of 
awakening, or even a few of them, will free us from identification with 
our personality. While each moment of self-realization transforms us to 
some degree, it usually takes many such experiences before we can live 
and function with an expanded awareness. But as these experiences ac¬ 
cumulate, our identity gradually opens up to include more and more of 
our Essential nature. A capacity for deeper experiences is created and the 
vessel expands to become a more constant carrier of the Divine. Our 
inner light becomes brighter and shines more warmly into the world. 


THE BASIC FEAR AND BASIC DESIRE 

The mechanism of the personality is set in motion by what we call 
the Basic Fear of each type. The Basic Fear arises because of the in¬ 
evitable loss of contact with our Essential nature in early childhood. 
This loss occurs for a number of reasons. 

As newborn babies, we arrived in the world with natural, innate- 
needs that had to be met for us to develop into mature human beings. 
However, even in the best circumstances, our parents inevitably could 
not meet all of our developmental needs perfectly. No matter how well 
intentioned they were, at certain times they had difficulty coping with 
our needs, especially those that had not been adequately met in them¬ 
selves. As babies, it is our nature to express a. wide range of emotions 
and states of being. If these qualities are blocked in our parents, they 
will feel anxious and uncomfortable whenever those qualities arise in 
us. This made our infant selves anxious and unhappy. 

If, for example, a baby is expressing her joyfulness and delight in 
being alive, but her mother is depressed, it is unlikely that the mother 
will feel comfortable with the baby’s joy. As a result, the baby learns to 



ESSENCE 


AND 


PERSONALITY 


3 I 


suppress her joy to keep the mother from getting more upset. Another 
baby with a different temperament might cry or make stronger attempts 
to get a reaction from the mother, but no matter what response the baby 
uses, her own joy is not mirrored. It is important to realize that these re¬ 
actions did not occur because our parents were “bad” but because they 
could only mirror the qualities that were not blocked in themselves. 
This limited—and often dysfunctional—range of behaviors and atti¬ 
tudes become imprinted on the child’s receptive soul as the psychic 
backdrop that the child brings into life and all future relationships. 

As a result of unmet infant needs and subsequent blockages, we begin 
to feel very early in life that certain key elements in us are missing. Naturally, 
this feeling creates deep anxiety. It is likely that our innate temperament de¬ 
termines how we may respond to that anxiety, but no matter what our later 
personality type, we eventually come to the conclusion that there is some¬ 
thing fundamentally wrong with us. Even if we cannot express it in words, 
we feel the tug of a powerful, unconscious anxiety—our Basic Fear. 

Each type has its own characteristic Basic Fear, although the Basic 
Fears are also universal. (From a more subtle perspective, each Basic 
Fear is a reaction to the universal fear of death and annihilation—our 
personality’s fear of nothingness.) We will recognize the Basic Fears of 
all nine types in ourselves, although our own type's Basic Fear motivates 
our behavior much more than the others. 


“All men should strive to learn 
before they die what they are run¬ 
ning from, and to, and why.” 

James Thurber 


UNCONSCIOUS CHILDHOOD MESSAGES 


We all received many different unconscious messages from our mother and father (as well as from other 
significant figures) during childhood.Those messages had a profound effect on our growing identity and on 
how much we were allowed to fully be ourselves. Unless our parents were highly developed, conscious 
human beings themselves, the expansive brilliance of our soul was forced to shut down to varying degrees. 

Although some of us received many of the following messages, one message tends to be central to each 
type.Which messages particularly affect you? 


Type One: 
Type Two: 
Type Three: 
Type Four: 
Type Five: 
Type Six: 
Type Seven: 
Type Eight: 
Type Nine: 


"It’s not okay to make mistakes.” 

“It’s not okay to have your own needs.” 

“It’s not okay to have your own feelings and identity." 
“It’s not okay to be too functional or too happy.” 

“It’s not okay to be comfortable in the world.” 

“It’s not okay to trust yourself.” 

“It’s not okay to depend on anyone for anything." 

“It’s not okay to be vulnerable or to trust anyone.” 
“It’s not okay to assert yourself.” 





3 2 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


THE 

BASIC FEARS OF THE TYPES 

1 

Fear of being bad, corrupt, evil, or defective 

2 

Fear of being unworthy of being loved 

3 

Fear of being worthless or without inherent value 

4 

Fear of being without identity or personal significance 

5 

Fear of being useless, incapable, or incompetent 

6 

Fear of being without support or guidance 

7 

Fear of being deprived or trapped in pain 

8 

Fear of being harmed or controlled by others . 

9 

Fear of loss of connection, of fragmentation 


“We do not succeed in chang¬ 
ing things according to our desire, 
but gradually our desire changes.” 

Proust 


To compensate for the Basic Fear, a Basic Desire arises. The Basic 
Desire is the way that we defend against our Basic Fear in order to con¬ 
tinue to function. The Basic Desire is what we believe will make us okay; 
it is as if we said to ourselves, “If I had X (love, security, peace, and so 
forth), everything would be great.” We might also call the Basic Desire 
the ego agenda , because it tells us what the ego self is always striving after. 

The Basic Desires represent legitimate universal human needs, al¬ 
though each type idealizes and grasps after its Basic Desire so much 
that other legitimate human needs begin to suffer. It is important to 
understand, however, that there is nothing wrong with our Basic 
Desire. The problem is that we try to fulfill it in misguided ways that 
lead us down paths that are ultimately self-defeating. 

For example, the Basic Desire of the Six is to find security. As we will 
see, Sixes can seek security until they ultimately ruin everything in their 
lives, including, ironically, their security. In a similar way, every type is ca¬ 
pable of becoming self-destructive by misguidedly and excessively pursu¬ 
ing its Basic Desire. We keep chasing after the same thing, using the same 
strategies, even though they are not giving us the results that we want. 

Our Basic Desire also unwittingly blocks our Essential nature because 
the personality will not relinquish its control until it believes that the Basic 




ESSENCE 


AND 


PERSONALITY 


3 3 


Desire has been obtained. For instance, a Six will not allow himself to relax 
and be present until he feels that his world is completely secure. Similarly, 
a One will not want to relax and become more present until everything in 
her world is perfect. Of course, these things will never happen. 

Understanding the Basic Fear and Basic Desire gives particular in¬ 
sight into the ancient and universal teaching that human nature is 
driven by fear and desire. Thus, we might say that the whole of our per¬ 
sonality structure is composed of our flight from our Basic Fear and our 
single-minded pursuit of our Basic Desire. The entire feeling-tone of 
our personality emerges out of this dynamic, and it becomes the foun¬ 
dation for our sense of self. 


ESSENCE HAS BEEN CONSTRICTED BY PERSONALITY 


Psychology suggests that much of our ability to function as well- 
integrated, mature adults is determined by how well our specific devel¬ 
opmental needs were met in our early childhoods. Those needs that 


BASIC DESIRES AND THEIR DISTORTIONS 

1 

The desire to have integrity (deteriorates into critical perfectionism) 

2 

The desire to be loved (deteriorates into the need to be needed) 

3 

The desire to be valuable (deteriorates into chasing after success) 

4 

The desire to be oneself (deteriorates into self-indulgence) 

3 

The desire to be competent (deteriorates into useless specialization) 

6 

The desire to be secure (deteriorates into an attachment to beliefs) 

7 

The desire to be happy (deteriorates into frenetic escapism) 

8 

The desire to protect oneself (deteriorates into constant fighting) 

9 

The desire to be at peace (deteriorates into stubborn neglectfulness) 




THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


3 4 


were not adequately met can be thought of as “gaps” that interfere with 
our ability to experience our Essential wholeness. Spiritual tradition 
further suggests that our personality has been formed to compensate 
for these gaps in our development. Our personality is like a cast that 
protects a broken arm or leg. The more extreme the original injuries, 
the more extensive the cast has to be. Of course, the cast is necessary 
so that the limb can heal and regain its full functioning. But if we 
never take the cast off, it severely limits the use of the limb and 
makes further growth impossible. Some people have had to develop 
the personality equivalent of a full body cast. None of us has gotten 
out of childhood without some need to hide, or to shut down and 
protect ourselves from any further hurt. 

Seen as a temporary cast, the personality is a highly useful, utterly 
necessary aid because it has developed most powerfully around the 
areas of our soul’s greatest wounding. It has become strongest where we 
are weakest. Thus, not only has personality helped us to survive psy¬ 
chologically, it can,also now direct us to where we most need to do our 
transformational work. 

But because most of our personality is no more than a collection of 


LOST CHILDHOOD MESSAGES 


While we receive many messages from childhood that limit us, there are also messages that every child 
needs to hear.We may have heard at least a few of them, but almost certainly not all.The Lost Message, the 
message that has not been heard (even if it has been sent), often becomes the central issue for the child and 
the core of his or her Basic Fear.Thus, for each type, the adult personality structure does whatever it can 
to have others give us the Lost Message we never adequately received. 

Read the following Lost Messages and observe their impact on you.What message did you most need to 


hear? How does 

acknowledging that need affect you now? 

Type One: 

“You are good." 

Type Two: 

“You are wanted.” 

Type Three: 

“You are loved for yourself." 

Type Four: 

"You are seen for who you are.” 

Type Five: 

“Your needs are not a problem.” 

Type Six: 

“You are safe." 

Type Seven: 

"You will be taken care of.” 

Type Eight: 

"You will not be betrayed.” 

Type Nine: 

“Your presence matters.” 





ESSENCE AND PERSONALITY 

conditioned reactions, fears, and beliefs and is not our true Self, our 
identification with it results in a profound self-abandonment. The expe¬ 
rience of our identity has shifted from our true nature to the shell of de¬ 
fenses that we have had to develop. As long as we believe that “My 
personality is me,” we will stay identified with our personality. One of 
the main reasons that we resist changing is that the movement back to 
our Essence always entails feeling the pain of our self-abandonment. 
When we are willing to say, “1 want to be who I really am, and I want to 
live in the truth,” the process of recovering ourselves has already begun. 

For these reasons, in working with this material, we may be exposed 
to truths about ourselves that we have never known before, or we may 
reexperience old hurt, fear, or anger. That is why it is important to cul¬ 
tivate compassion for ourselves: we have to love ourselves enough to know 
that we are worth the effort to get to know ourselves as we really are. We 
have to love ourselves enough to know that even if we become anxious 
or depressed, we will not abandon ourselves again. When we are willing 
to experience the truth of how we have been and how we are now, and 
when we are willing to let ourselves be healed, our true nature emerges. 
The outcome is guaranteed: all we have to do is to show up. 

Essence Cannot Be Lost or Harmed 

No matter what our past, we can take heart that even the most trau¬ 
matic childhood experiences cannot damage or destroy our Essence. Our 
Essence is still pure and untarnished, although it is constricted and ob¬ 
scured by the structures of our personality. If we come from a highly 
dysfunctional family, this structure will be extremely rigid and restrict¬ 
ing. If we come from a more functional family, the personality struc¬ 
ture will be lighter and more flexible. 

Those who have come from highly dysfunctional families can take 
heart in knowing that the Essential self within us is completely intact 
and always looking for ways to manifest itself. Initially, we may have to 
spend a great deal of time and effort working on the gaps in our devel¬ 
opment, but the core of our Being is always there to support us. Again, 
no matter how painfitl our early experiences were, our Essence cannot be 
harmed. Our Essence is waiting for the opportunity to reveal itself. In 
a very true sense, we are waiting for the opportunity to become our¬ 
selves. Our spirit is yearning to break free, to express itself, to come 
back to life, to be in the world in the way that it was meant to be. 

And yet, ironically, we always fear and resist opening to that which is 
most real in us. When we trust in the process and give ourselves over to it, 
however, our true nature comes forth. The result is real integrity, love, au¬ 
thenticity, creativity, understanding, guidance, joy, power, and serenity— 
all of the qualities we are forever demanding that personality supply. 


3 5 

“We are all serving a life- 
sentence in the dungeon of self.” 

Cyril Connolly 



CHAPTER 4 


CULTIVATING 

AWARENESS 


HOW CAN WE get in touch with our true nature—the spark of di¬ 
vinity that lives within each of us? How can we peel away the layers of 
defenses and identifications that we have taken to be ourselves and 
learn to trust our Essence to give us sustenance and guidance? How do 
we do so not just in a workshop or in a peaceful mountainside retreat 
but in our daily lives? How can we move from an intellectual recogni¬ 
tion of what is true, to living om truth from moment to moment? How 
can we make life our practice? 

The Enneagram helps us let go of the limiting mechanisms of our 
personality so that we can more deeply experience who and what we re¬ 
ally are. But this does not happen automatically. Understanding the 
personality types clearly and deeply is the prerequisite, although infor¬ 
mation alone is not enough to free us. We cannot will, or think, or 
“technique” our way into transformation. Yet without our participation 
it cannot happen. So.what part do we play in our own transformation? 


“CATCHING OURSELVES IN THE ACT” 

Sacred traditions from around the world are united in stressing the 
importance of our being witnesses to our transformation. We are called 
on to be vigilant, to observe ourselves, and to bring mindfulness to our¬ 
selves and our activities. If we want to benefit from this map of the 
soul, we must cultivate the art of awareness, learning to be more awake 
to our lives in each moment without judgment and without excuse. We 
must learn to “catch ourselves in the act” of behaving according to the 
dictates of our personality, seeing how we are manifesting mechanically 
and unfreely from moment to moment. When we are able to notice 



CULTIVATING 


AWARENESS 


3 7 


what we are doing now, to experience pur current state completely and 
without judgment, the old patterns will begin to fall away. 

Awareness is vitally important in the work of transformation be¬ 
cause the habits of our personality let go most completely when we see 
them as they are occurring. Analyzing past behavior is helpful, but it is 
not as powerful as observing ourselves as we are in the present moment. 
For example, it is certainly worthwhile to understand why we had a ter¬ 
rible argument with our spouse, or were irritable with an associate or a 
child. But if, while we are having an argument or are being irritable, we 
suddenly “catch ourselves in the act,” something extraordinary can 
occur. In that moment of awareness, we may realize that we do not re¬ 
ally want to do the questionable behavior that only seconds before we 
were so invested in. We may also see a deeper truth about our situa¬ 
tion—for instance, that the “important point” we were so eager to 
make was really only an attempt to justify ourselves, or worse, a covert 
attempt to get back at someone. Or that the “witty remarks” we were 
having such fun with were really an attempt to avoid feeling sad or 
lonely. 

If we are able to stay with these impressions, our awareness will 
continue to expand. We may initially feel embarrassed or ashamed; we 
may feel the urge to shut down or to distract ourselves in various ways. 
But if we stay present to our discomfort, we will also feel something 
else arising, something more real, capable, sensitive, and exquisitely 
aware of ourselves and our surroundings. This “something” feels com¬ 
passionate and strong, patient and wise, indomitable, and of great 
value. This something is who we actually are. It is the “I” beyond name, 
without personality—our true nature. 


WAKING UP 

Awareness can not only change your life, it can save your life. Several 
years ago a major bridge on an interstate highway collapsed during 
the night of a heavy storm. Several sections in the middle of the bridge 
fell into the river, leaving unsuspecting motorists exposed to a life- 
threatening situation in the driving rain and confusion of the storm. 

One alert driver saw what had happened and was able to bring his 
car to a stop only a few feet from the edge before he would have plunged 
to certain death in the river some forty feet below. He risked his life by 
running toward the oncoming traffic, frantically attempting to alert 
other drivers to the danger. Almost immediately a carload of five young 
men came along. They saw the man’s frantic attempts to stop them but 
apparently thought that he was only trying to get help with his own 
stalled car. Laughing, they made a crude gesture at him and pushed the 



3 8 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


THE 


"The Bible says that a deep 
sleep fell upon Adam, and no¬ 
where is there a reference to his 
waking up." 

A Course in Miracles 


accelerator to the floor. A few seconds later they plunged off the edge of 
the bridge into the river below and were all killed. 

From our perspective, it could be said that their personality killed 
them. Contemptuousness, hostility, bravado, unwillingness to listen, a 
lack of compassion, or showing off—any one of a number of related 
impulses—could have been the cause of the drivers decision not to 
stop. Some habit, some feature of his personality, had the upper hand 
at a critical moment, with tragic results. 

It is a major breakthrough when we fully appreciate the extent to 
which we entrust our lives to the mechanisms of our personalities and 
what peril we are in when we do so. Many times it is as if a three-year- 
old were making many crucial life decisions for us. Once we understand 
the nature of our personality’s mechanisms, we begin to have a choice 
about identifying with them or not. If we are not aware of them, clearly 
no choice is possible. As we see our Fiveness, or our Twoness, or our 
Eightness, however, the opportunity to “not do” our type appears. 

GurdjiefF and other spiritual teachers have often asserted that our 
normal state of consciousness is a kind of “sleep.” This may sound 
strange, but relative to the level of awareness that is possible for us, our 
ordinary state of consciousness is as far from a direct experience of re¬ 
ality as sleep is from waking consciousness. Nevertheless, we know that 
when we are asleep, our dreams can seem very real at the time. When 
we awaken and realize that we have been dreaming, our connection 
with reality shifts. Our sense of who and what we are comes into an¬ 
other focus. 

Waking up from the trance of personality occurs in much the same 
way. We do a kind of double take, asking ourselves, “What was that all 
about? Where was I a moment ago?” We can be surprised at how lost 
we were, although in those previous states we did not feel lost. If some¬ 
one had asked us if we were fully present and awake, we would have 
said yes, but from this new perspective we can see that we were not. We 
may realize that entire sections of our lives have actually been spent in 
“sleep.” 


CONSCIOUS LOOKING 


Take a moment to look around the room that you are in right now.What have you not noticed about it 
before? Are there aspects of it that you have never seen? Really look. Don’t take it for granted that you know 
everything in it. As you are looking, can you feel your body? Can you notice your posture while you are 
looking? As you attempt to do this, do you notice anything different between your current sense of your¬ 
self and the way you usually experience yourself? 





CULTIVATING 


AWARENESS 


3 9 


What Is Awareness? 

We use the term awareness a great deal, and it is an important term in 
many different approaches to psychological and spiritual growth. Yet find¬ 
ing an adequate definition for this word is difficult. It may be easier to de¬ 
fine awareness by what it is not than by what it is. For instance, we can say 
that awareness is not thinking, not feeling, not moving, not intuition, and 
not instinct—even though it can contain any one or all of these things. 

Even the most active, focused thinking is not the same thing as 
awareness. For example, we might be thinking intensely about what to 
write in this chapter, and we can also simultaneously be aware of our 
thinking processes. At another time we might notice that we are think¬ 
ing about an upcoming business meeting—or rehearsing a possible 
conversation with someone in our head—while we are taking a walk. 
Usually our awareness is so completely taken up with our inner talk 
that we do not experience ourselves as separate from it. With more 
awareness, however, we are able to step back from our imaginary con¬ 
versation and observe it. 

In the same way we can become more aware of our feelings. We 
may catch ourselves getting caught up in irritation, or boredom, or 
loneliness. When we are less aware, we are identified with a feeling —I 
am frustrated, I am depressed—and we do not see its temporary na¬ 
ture: we believe it is how we are. After the storm has passed, we realize 
that the feeling actually was temporary, even though when we were in 
the middle of it, it was our whole reality. By contrast, when we are 
aware of our feelings, we clearly observe their arising, their impact on 
us, and their passing away. 

We can also become more aware of what we are doing—of the ac¬ 
tual sensations of our body in action or at rest. For both better or worse, 
our bodies have learned to do many things on automatic pilot. For in¬ 
stance, we are capable of driving a car and of having a conversation at 
the same time. We might be thinking about what we are going to say 
next while also feeling worried about getting to our destination, while 
our body is doing all the complicated things it needs to do to drive the 
car. All of this can occur automatically and without much awareness, or 
with awareness of any part of it, or with awareness of all of it. 

Each moment presents us with the possibility of expanding our 
awareness—with many benefits to ourselves: 

► When we relax and allow awareness to expand, we become less 
caught up in whatever has magnetized our attention. If we have been 
fearful or anxious or lost in daydreams and fantasies, we will gain objec¬ 
tivity and perspective about what we are doing. As a result, we will suf¬ 
fer less. 



4 0 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


“Each thought, each action in 
the sunlight of awareness, be¬ 
comes sacred.” 

Thich Nhat Hanh 


« 


► Our expanded awareness enables us to bring more of ourselves 
and thus more resources to bear on whatever problems or difficulties 
we may be facing. We will see fresh solutions instead of reacting habit¬ 
ually, according to the mechanisms of our personality. 

► Expanded awareness opens us to a real relationship with others 
and with the world around us. We are nourished and enriched by the 
pleasure and wonder of each moment. Even what we would ordinarily 
regard as unpleasant experiences have a very different quality when we 
experience them with awareness. 

We also often use the word see, as in the expression “it is important 
for us to see the mechanisms of our personality.” However, as with 
awareness, we need to be clear about what we mean by this word. More 
specifically, it is vital that we understand what in us is doing the "seeing. ” 
We are all well practiced at commenting on ourselves, or evaluating our 
experiences. In such cases, one part of our personality is criticizing or 
commenting on another part, as if to say, “I don’t like that part of me” 
or “That was a great comment 1 just made,” and so forth. This inner 
commentary usually leads to nothing more than an increasingly in¬ 
flated, empty, and impoverished ego structure—and eventual inner 
warfare. This is not the kind of “seeing” we wish to cultivate. 

“Seeing” is not a purely intellectual understanding, either. Our in¬ 
tellect certainly has a part to play, and we do not want to suggest that we 
do not need our minds in the process of transformation. But the part of 
us that sees is something more omnipresent yet elusive. It is sometimes 
called the inner observer or the witness. It is our total awareness, alive, 
here and now, and able to take in experience at many different levels. 


LEARNING TO “OBSERVE AND LET GO” 

One of the most important skills we must acquire as we embark on 
the inward journey is the ability to “observe and let go” of the habits 
and mechanisms of our personality that have trapped us. 

Our maxim is deceptively simple. What it means is that we must 
learn to observe ourselves, seeing what arises in us from moment to 
moment, as well as seeing what calls us away from the here and now. 
Whatever we find, whether pleasant or unpleasant, we simply observe 
it. We do not try to change it, nor do we criticize ourselves forwhat we 
uncover. To the extent that we are fully present to whatever we find in 
ourselves, the constrictions of our personality begin to relax, and our 
Essence begins to manifest more fully. 

Unlike what our ego may believe, it is not our role to repair or 
transform ourselves. Indeed, one of the major obstacles to transforma- 



CULTIVATING 


AWARENESS 


4 I 


tion is the idea that we can “fix” ourselves. This notion, of course, raises 
some interesting questions. What in us do we believe needs fixing, and 
what part of us is claiming the authority to be able to fix another part? 
What parts are the judge, the jury, and the defendant in the dock? 
What are the tools of punishment or rehabilitation, and what parts of 
us will wield them on what other parts? 

We are programmed from early childhood to believe that we need 
to be better, to tty harder, and to discount parts of ourselves that other 
parts do not approve of. The whole of our culture and education con¬ 
stantly reminds us of how we can be more successful, desirable, secure, 
or spiritual if we were only to change in some way or other. In short, 
we have learned that we need to be different from how we actually are 
according to some formula the mind has received. The idea that we 
simply need to discover and accept who we actually are is contrary to 
almost everything we have been taught. 

Clearly, if we are doing things that harm ourselves—such as abus¬ 
ing drugs or alcohol, or engaging in destructive relationships or crimi¬ 
nal activities—then stopping that behavior is necessary before we can 
do meaningful transformational work. But what usually enables us to 
change is neither haranguing nor punishing ourselves but cultivating a 
quiet, centered awareness so that we can see what is compelling us to 
harm ourselves. When we bring awareness both to our bad habits as 
well as to the parts of ourselves that would like to rid us of them, some¬ 
thing entirely new enters the picture. 

As we learn to be present to our lives and open to the moment, 
miracles begin to happen. One of the greatest miracles is that we can 
drop a habit that has plagued us for many years in a minute. When we 
are fully present, the old habit lets go, and we are no longer the same. 
To experience the healing of our oldest and deepest wounds through 
the action of awareness is the miracle we can all count on. If we follow 
this map of the soul into the depths of our hearts, hatred will turn into 
compassion, rejection into acceptance, and fear into wonder. 

Always remember that it is your birthright and natural state to be wise 
and noble, loving and generous, to esteem yourself and others, to be creative 
and constantly renewing yourself to be engaged in the world in awe and 
in depth, to have courage and to rely on yourself to be joyous and effort¬ 
lessly accomplished, to be strong and effective, to enjoy peace of mind and 
to be present to the infolding mystery of your life. 


“We do not have to improve 
ourselves; we just have to let go of 
• what blocks our heart.” 

Jack Kornfieid 


“Through our senses the 
world appears. Through our 
reactions we create delusions. 
Without reactions the world be¬ 
comes clear." 


Buddha 



THE 


WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


4 2 


SPIRITUAL JUMP STARTS 

No matter what type you are, there are specific things you can do to ‘‘jump start” your spiritual and per¬ 
sonal growth. All of the following are type-specific problem areas, but everyone gets caught up in them from 
time to time. So, if you want to move forward in your inner work, bring your awareness, as fully as possible, 
to the following patterns: 

► Value-judging, condemning yourself and others (One) 

► Giving your value away to others (Two) 

► Trying to be other than you authentically are (Three) 

► Making negative comparisons (Four) 

► Overinterpreting your experience (Five) 

► Becoming dependent on something outside yourself for support (Six) 

► Anticipating what you are going to do next (Seven) 

► Trying to force or control your life (Eight) 

► Resisting being affected by your experiences (Nine) 


IDENTIFICATION AND THE INNER OBSERVER 


“Identification ... is a form 
of escape from the self.” 

Krishnamurti 


As we gain experience with being present and observing ourselves, 
we begin to notice the development of a seemingly new aspect of our 
awareness—a profound ability to “witness” our experience more objec¬ 
tively. As we have noted, this quality of awareness has been called the 
inner observer. The inner observer allows us to observe what is going on 
in and around us simultaneously, without commentary or judgment. 

The inner observer is necessary for transformation because of a psy¬ 
chological mechanism GurdjiefF called “identification,” which is one of 
the primary ways our personalities create and sustain their reality. 

The personality can identify with just about anything—an idea, our 
body, an itch, a sunset, a child, or a song. That is, at any moment in 
which we are not fully awake in the present moment, our sense of iden¬ 
tity comes from whatever we are paying attention to. For instance, if we 
are fretting, focusing our attention on an upcoming meeting, it is as if 
we were experiencing the meeting (although an imaginary one) instead 
of what is actually happening right now. Or, if we are identified with an 
emotional reaction—for instance, an attraction to another person—it is 
as if we become that attraction. Or if we feel berated by a critical voice 
in our heads, we cannot separate ourselves from that voice. 

If we quiet our minds even a little, we notice how our states fluctu- 





CULTIVATING 


AWARENESS 


4 3 


ate from one moment to the next. One instant we are thinking about 
our job, in the next we notice someone crossing the street who reminds 
us of a date we had some years ago. An instant-later we are recalling a 
song from our school days until we are splashed by a car driving through 
a puddle. Instantly we are filled with rage at the idiot driving the car and 
can think of nothing else until we realize that we want a candy bar to 
make ourselves feel better. And on it goes. The only thing that is consis¬ 
tent is our personality’s tendency to identify with each successive state. 

Awareness expands and contracts like a balloon, but identification 
always causes it to become smaller. We might notice that when we are 
identified with something, our awareness of our immediate surround¬ 
ings is greatly diminished. We are less aware of other people, of our en¬ 
vironment, and of our own inner state. Simply put, the more identified 
we are, the more contracted our awareness is—and the more out of 
touch with reality we are. 


“Very few men, properly speak¬ 
ing, live at present, but are provid¬ 
ing to live another time.” 

Jonathan Swift 


CONTINUUM OF AWARENESS 


For this exercise you will need a watch or a clock and, if possible, a tape recorder. Find a place where 
you can sit comfortably and observe the room or location you are in. For five minutes, follow your atten¬ 
tion as best you can, naming whatever you are paying attention to. For example, you might say,"I am notic¬ 
ing the way the light hits that wall. I am noticing that I am wondering why I looked at the wall. I am noticing 
that I am tensing my right shoulder. I am noticing that I feel nervous,” and so forth. 

You may wish to record your observations, or you may wish to do this exercise with a partner. Even if 
you do the exercise without a recording or a partner, see if you can discern any patterns in the movement 
of your awareness. Do you focus more on your thoughts? On the environment? On your sensations? On 
your feelings and reactions? Do certain themes emerge? 


Over time our identification with a certain set of qualities (such as 
strength, empathy, peacefulness, or spontaneity, to name just a few) be¬ 
comes fixed, and our type’s characteristic sense of self is established. The 
feelings and states that comprise our sense of self are those we think are 
necessary for achieving our Basic Desire. The more we identify with our 
sense of self, the more we become locked into it, and the more we forget 
that other choices and other modes of being are available to us. We start 
to believe that we are this pattern. We focus on only certain qualities 
from the total range of our human potentials as if saying, “These quali¬ 
ties are me, but those are not. I am this way, but not that way.” Thus we 
develop a self-image, a self-definition—a predictable personality type. 

For example, the Basic Fear of Eights is of being harmed or con¬ 
trolled by other people or by life, and their Basic Desire is to protect and 
defend themselves. Self-protection and self-reliance are universal human 







CORE IDENTIFICATIONS OF THE TYPES 


Type 

Identifies powerfidly with: 

To sustain the self-image of being: 

1 

The superego, with the capacity to evaluate, com¬ 
pare, measure, and discern experiences or things. 
Resists recognizing anger-based tension. 

reasonable 

sensible 

objective 

moderate 

prudent 

moral 

u 1» 

good 

rational 

2 

Feelings for and about others and feelings about 
others’ responses to them. Resists recognizing 
own feelings about self and needs. 

loving 

caring 

selfless 

thoughtful 

warm-hearted 

concerned 

kind 

compassionate 

3 

A self-image developed in response to what they 
perceive as admiration by others. Resists recognizing 
feelings of emptiness, own self-rejection. 

admirable 

desirable 

attractive 

outstanding 

well-adjusted 

effective 

having “unlim¬ 
ited potential” 

4 

Feelings of “otherness,” of being flawed, and with 
emotional reactions. Resists recognizing authen¬ 
tic positive qualities in self and being like others. 

sensitive 

different 

unique 

self-aware 

gentle 

intuitive 

quiet, deep 
honest with 
self 

5 

Sense of being a detached, outside observer of the 
world—not part of it. Resists recognizing physical 
presence and state, feelings and needs. 

perceptive 

It >1 

smart 

curious 

self-contained 

insightful 

unusual 

alert 

objective 

6 

The need to respond and react to inner anxiety 
about perceived lack of support. Resists recogniz¬ 
ing support and own inner guidance. 

reliable 

dependable 

trustworthy 

likable 

regular 

careful 

having 

foresight 

questioning 

7 

Sense of excitement coming from anticipating 
future positive experiences. Resists recognizing 
personal pain and anxiety. 

enthusiastic 

free-spirited 

spontaneous 

cheerful 

eager 

outgoing 

energetic 

positive 

8 

Sense of intensity coming from resisting.or chal¬ 
lenging others and environment. Resists recogniz¬ 
ing own vulnerability and need for nurturing. 

strong 

assertive 

direct 

resourceful robust 

action-oriented independent 
tenacious 

9 

Sense of inner stability coming from disengage¬ 
ment from intense impulses and feelings. Resists 
recognizing own strength and capacity. 

peaceful 

relaxed 

steady 

stable 

gentle 

natural 

easygoing 

friendly 



CULTIVATING 


AWARENESS 


needs, and even if we are not Eights, we need to protect ourselves physi¬ 
cally and emotionally. Young Eights, however, begin to focus on the qual¬ 
ities they find in themselves that will help them protect themselves. They 
discover their strength, willpower, perseverance, and self-assertion and 
start using these capacities to develop and reinforce their ego identity. 


THE FEAR OF BEING PRESENT 

Inevitably, when we stay open to ourselves for any period of time, 
we begin to feel anxious, intuiting that something uncomfortable may 
arise. This happens because we are “pushing the envelope” of our per¬ 
sonality. We can take heart because experiencing some degree of anxi¬ 
ety during transformational work is a good sign. When we move 
beyond our old defenses, we also start to experience the very feelings 
that we have been defending ourselves from all of our lives. 

This explains why we can have fulfilling spiritual experiences and then 
quickly find ourselves in a fearful, reactive, or negative state again. The 
process of growth entails an ongoing cycling among letting go of old blockages, 
opening up to new possibilities in ourselves, and then encountering deeper lev¬ 
els of blockage. Although we might wish that spiritual growth would be 
more linear and that it could be accomplished in one or two major break¬ 
throughs, the reality is that it is a process that we must go through many 
times on many different fronts until our whole psyche is reorganized. 

Spiritual growth is also a process that requires us to be gentle and 
patient with ourselves. Frustration, specific expectations about our 
growth, timetables for spiritual progress, and disparaging ourselves 
when we fall short of our expectations are all common reactions, but 
they do not help. It took many years to build up our ego defenses, so 
we cannot expect to dismantle them overnight. Our soul has its own 
wisdom, and it will not allow us to see anything about ourselves (much 
less release it) until we are truly ready to do so. 

When we begin to do this kind of work, there is also a common fear 
that being present means sitting around “contemplating our navel” or 
staring at a wall. We have the notion that if we become more present, we 
will not be able to deal with the important problems in our lives—we will 
be “spacey,” impractical, and ineffective. In fact, just the reverse is true: we 
are more alert and our judgments and insights are more accurate. 

Likewise, many of us believe that if we become more present, we 
will lose all of our hard-won maturity or professional skills. Again, this 
is the reverse of what actually happens. When we are present, we are 
able to do things better and more consistently than ever before; we also 
acquire new skills far more easily because our concentration improves. 
When we are mindful, our intelligence operates in ways that will 


“And if not now, when?" 

The Talmud 


“If you are irritated by every 
rub, how will your mirror be pol¬ 
ished?” 

Rumi 



THE 


WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


4 6 


“In the final analysis, we count 
for something only because of the 
essential we embody, and if we do 
not embody that, life is wasted.” 

Jung 


surprise us, calling forth exactly the piece of information or skill re¬ 
quired to solve the problem at hand. 

On yet a deeper level, we are afraid to stay present and to really show 
up in our lives because we are terrified that we will relive all of our child¬ 
hood wounds. If we dare to unveil our true nature, it might not be seen or 
loved. It might be rej'ected or humiliated; it might make us feel vulnerable 
or cause others to fear or betray us. We fear that others will abandon us. We 
fear that the preciousness of our souls will be disregarded or harmed again. 

And yet when we actually show up more fully, we experience im¬ 
mense space, peace, and a quiet aliveness. We discover that we are solid, 
immensely alive, and connected with the world around us. There is no 
reason not to live this way, except for the reasons that our personality 
gives us—biased, self-interested reasons, to be sure. 


“If you would only switch on 
the light of awareness and ob¬ 
serve yourself and everything 
around you throughout the day, if 
you would see yourself reflected 
in the mirror of awareness the 
way you see your face reflected in 
a looking glass, that is, accurately, 
clearly, exactly as it is without the 
slightest distortion or addition, 
and if you observed this reflection 
without any judgment or condem¬ 
nation, you would experience all 
sorts of marvelous changes com¬ 
ing about in you. Only you will not 
be in control of those changes, or 
be able to plan them in advance, 
or decide how and when they are 
to take place. It is this nonjudg- 
mental awareness alone that heals 
and changes and makes one grow. 
But in its own way and at its own 
time." 

Anthony DeMello, 
The Way to Love 


AWARENESS LEADS TO PRESENCE 

If we stay with this process, paying attention to what is real—to 
what is happening right now—we begin to experience a subtle Presence 
pervading our inner space and our surroundings. It feels light, exquis¬ 
ite, and pleasurable and can manifest many different qualities. Thus, by 
bringing our awareness to the actual experience of the present mo¬ 
ment, we begin to be filled with Presence. Indeed, we may recognize 
that this Presence is what lue fundamentally are. 

What is remarkable is that Presence always reveals what in us is 
blocking us from becoming more present. The more we become present, 
the more we become aware of the parts of our selves that are not re¬ 
laxed, the parts that we have not fully occupied. The more we are able 
to relax, the more we become aware of the subtle movement of 
Presence filling us and surrounding us. It may be helpful just to stay 
with that impression without labeling it or thinking about it too much. 
In time, what was subtle and vague will become clearer and more dis¬ 
tinct as new layers of Being reveal themselves to us. 

Presence breaks in on our daydreams and identifications all the 
time, and yet because of the structures of our personality, we cannot 
hold our ground to remain present. The further into the trance of our 
ego we go, the more “charged” our personality mechanisms become, as 
if they were electromagnets exerting a fierce and desperate energy. 
However, becoming attuned to the vibrant nature of Presence, and see¬ 
ing the enormous investment of our life energy in the “projects” of the 
personality, provides a way out. At the same time, we cannot simply de¬ 
cide to be present; yet without the intention to be present, Presence is 
impossible. So how can a person in a trance break out of his own trance? 

Clearly, such a heroic undertaking is almost impossible without ad- 



CULTIVATING 


AWARENESS 


4 7 


equate tools and support. In subsequent chapters we will look at how 
help in awakening can come from a profound system of understanding 
like the Enneagram and, most importantly, from a daily practice to cul¬ 
tivate awareness and Presence. In addition, we will suggest a number of 
tools and supports that can function as “alarm clocks” to awaken us 
from our trance. The more we heed these “wake-up calls,” the more 
Presence we will have (and the more possible it will be to wake ourselves 
up). But this takes much practice. 

Make no mistake—this is a lifelong work. The more moments of 
awakening we have, however, the more they collectively add momen¬ 
tum to the process of awakening: something is deposited in us—a ker¬ 
nel, the seed of a pearl—that does not go away when we return to our 
ordinary state. To help us know when we are awake, there are three 
characteristics we can look for: 

1. We fully experience our Presence as a living being, here and noiu. We 
know that there is someone here; we feel our substantiality, our “is-ness,” 
and, as a result, we are grounded in the moment. Moreover, this occurs 
not because we are picturing ourselves from some outside viewpoint, but 
because we are “inside” our experience, fully connected with the sensa¬ 
tions of life in our bodies, from the top of our heads to the bottoms of our 
feet. There is no feeling of resistance to the reality of the moment. 

2. We take in the impressions of our internal and external envi¬ 
ronments completely and without judgment or emotional reaction. We are 
able to observe the many thoughts and feelings that pass through our 
awareness without becoming attached to any of them. We interact with 
life from an inner quiet and stillness rather than from anxieties and inner 
franticness. Our attention is on what is occurring now, not dreaming of 
the past or anticipating the future or fantasizing about something else. 

3.. We are fully participating in the moment, allowing ourselves to 
be touched by the impressions around us and to Hilly taste and experi¬ 
ence the richness and subtlety of our life. We are utterly sincere and 
without artifice or self-consciousness. In each moment, we experience 
our identity as something entirely new and fresh. We are always look¬ 
ing for a formula, a rule, or a prayer that will turn the trick for us. But 
there is no substitute for Presence. Without Presence, none of the prayers, 
meditations, teachers, and techniques in the world can transform us. 
This is why we can spend many years observing the practices of our re¬ 
ligion and still not be able to consistently embody the beliefs that we 
hold. We can have extraordinary experiences and moments of being 
free from the shackles of our personality, but sooner or later—and usu¬ 
ally much sooner than we would like—we return to our old ways. This 
is because we do not understand the vital importance of Presence: it is 
not, and cannot be, part of our personality or its agenda. 



4 8 T 

“Spirit is always present, just as 
the sun is always shining above the 
clouds.” 

Dan Millman 


HE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

The good news is that Presence is already here, even though our 
awareness of it has become limited by our preoccupation with the nar¬ 
row concerns of personality. As we begin to value awareness and to cul¬ 
tivate it and engage in practices to strengthen it, the deeper qualities of 
our Essential nature manifest themselves more and more clearly. 


AN INVITATION TO ABUNDANCE 

The Enneagram reminds us of the different elements or qualities 

that constitute a complete human being. Each of the following invi- 

tations is based on the strengths symbolized by the nine types; no 

matter what type we are, we can respond to all of them. 

Invitation 

To live for a Higher Purpose. 

1 

Remember that it is your true nature to be wise and 
discerning. 

Invitation 

To nurture yourself and others. 

2 

Remember that it is your true nature to be good to your¬ 
self and to have goodwill and compassion for others. 

Invitation 

To develop yourself and set an example for others. 

3 

Remember that it is your true nature to take pleasure in 
your existence and to esteem and value others. 

Invitation 

To let go of the past and be renewed by your experiences. 

4 

Remember that it is your true nature to be forgiving and 
to use everything in life for your growth and renewal. 

Invitation 

To observe yourself and others without judgment or 

3 

expectations. 

Remember that it is your true nature to be engaged with 
reality, contemplating the infinite riches of the world. 

Invitation 

To have faith in yourself and trust in the goodness of life. 

6 

Remember that it is your true nature to be courageous 
and capable of dealing with life under all conditions. 

Invitation 

To joyously celebrate existence and share your happiness. 

7 

Remember that it is your true nature to be happy and to 
add to the richness of experience for everyone. 

Invitation 

To stand up for yourself and to speak out for what you 

8 

believe. 

Remember that it is your true nature to be strong and capa¬ 
ble of affecting the world in many different positive ways. 

Invitation 

To bring peace and healmg into your world. 

9 

Remember that it is your true nature to be an inexhaustible 
font of serenity, acceptance, and kindness in the world. 




CHAPTER 5 


THE TRIADIC 
SELF 


IF HUMAN BEINGS were able to stay centered in their Essential unity, 
there would be no need for the Enneagram. But without working on 
ourselves, we cannot become centered. It is a universal perception of 
the great spiritual traditions that human nature is divided—against 
itself, and against the Divine. Our lack of unity is, in fact, more char¬ 
acteristic of our “normal” reality than our Essential unity. 

Amazingly, the Enneagram symbol accounts for both aspects of 
human nature in its unity (the circle) and in the way it is divided (the 
triangle and the hexad). Every part of the Enneagram reveals psycho¬ 
logical and spiritual truths about who we are, deepening our under¬ 
standing of our predicament while simultaneously suggesting solutions 
to that predicament. 

In this chapter, we will examine the major ways in which the orig¬ 
inal unity of the human psyche has been divided—into Triads, differ¬ 
ent groups of three. The nine types are not isolated categories but are 
interrelated in extremely rich and profound ways that have meanings 
beyond individual psychological types. 


The Triads are important for transformational work because they THE TRIADS 

specify where our chief imbalance lies. The Triads represent the three 
main clusters of issues and defenses of the ego self, and they reveal the 
principal ways in which we contract our awareness and limit our¬ 
selves. 


This first grouping of the types refers to the three basic compo¬ 
nents of the human psyche: instinct, feeling, and thinking. According 



THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


THE INSTINCTIVE TRIAD 
9 


THE THINKING 
TRIAD 



to Enneagram theory, these three functions are related to subtle 
“Centers” in the human body, and the personality fixation is as¬ 
sociated primarily in one of these Centers. Types Eight, Nine, 
and One comprise the Instinctive Triad; types Two, Three, and 
Four make up the Feeling Triad; and types Five, Six, and Seven 
are the Thinking Triad. 

It is worth noting that modern medicine also divides the 
the feeling human brain into three basic components: the root brain, or in- 
triad stinctual brain; the limbic system, or emotional brain; and the 
cerebral cortex, or the thinking part of the brain. Some teachers 
of the Enneagram also refer to the three Centers as the head, 
heart, and gut, or as the thinking, feeling, and doing Centers respec¬ 
tively. 

No matter what type we are, our personality contains all three 
components—instinct, feeling, and thinking. All three interact with 
each other, and we cannot work on one without affecting the others. 
But for most of us, caught in the world of personality as we usually are, 
it is difficult to distinguish these components of ourselves. Nothing in 
our modern education has taught us how to do so. 

Each of these Triads represents a range of Essential capacities or 
functions that have become blocked or distorted. The personality then 
tries to fill in the gaps where our Essence has been blocked, and the 
Triad that our type is in indicates where the constrictions to our 
Essence and the artificial filler of our personality are most strongly op¬ 
erative. For example, if we are an Eight, we have been blocked in the 
Essential quality of strength; thus, our personality has stepped in and 
has attempted to imitate real strength by causing us to act tough and 
sometimes to assert ourselves in inappropriate ways. The false strength 
of our personality has taken over and concealed the blockage of real 
strength even from us. Until we understand this, we cannot recognize 
or recover our authentic, Essential strength. 

In a similar way, each personality type replaces other Essential qual¬ 
ities with imitations that we identify with and try to make the most of. 

Paradoxically, if someone’s type is in the Feeling Triad, this does not 
mean that they have more feelings than other people. Similarly, if 
someone is in the Thinking Triad, this does not mean that they are 
more intelligent than others are. In fact, in each Triad, the function in 
question (instinct, feeling, or thinking) is the function that the ego has 
most strongly formed around, and it is therefore the component of the 
psyche that is least able to function freely. 


THE 


TRIADIC 


SELF 


5 I 


THE MAJOR THEMES OF THE THREE 
TRIADS 

The Instinctive Triad 

Types Eight, Nine, and One are concerned with maintaining resis¬ 
tance to reality (creating boundaries for the self that are based on 
physical tensions). These types tend to have problems with aggression 
and repression. Underneath their ego defenses they carry a great deal 
of rage. 

The Feeling Triad 

Types Two, Three, and Four are concerned with self-image (attachment 
to the false or assumed self of personality). They believe that the stories 
about themselves and their assumed qualities are their actual identity. 
Underneath their ego defenses these types carry a great deal of shame. 

The Thinking Triad 

Types Five, Six, and Seven are concerned with anxiety (they experi¬ 
ence a lack of support and guidance). They engage in behaviors that 
they believe will enhance their safety and security. Underneath their 
ego defenses these types carry a great deal of fear. 


IN THE INSTINCTIVE TRIAD 

Types Eight, Nine, and One have formed around distortions in 
their instincts, the root of our life-force and vitality. The Instinctive 
Triad is concerned with the intelligence of the body, with basic life 
functioning and survival. 

The body plays a crucial role in all forms of genuine spiritual work, 
because bringing awareness back to the body anchors the quality of 
Presence. The reason is fairly obvious: while our minds and feelings can 
wander to the past or the future, our body can only exist here and now ; 
in the present moment. This is one of the fundamental reasons why vir¬ 
tually all meaningful spiritual work begins with coming back to the 
body and becoming more grounded in it. 

Moreover, the instincts of the body are the most powerful energies 
that we have to work with. Any real transformation must involve them, 
and any work that ignores them is almost certain to create problems. 


► CONCERNED WITH: 
Resistance & Control of 
the Environment 

► HAVE ISSUES WITH: 
Aggression & Repres¬ 
sion 

► SEEKS: Autonomy 

► UNDERLYING FEELING: 
RAGE 




5 2 


H E 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


T 


"All spiritual interests are sup- The body has an amazing intelligence and sensitivity, and it also has its 
ported by animal life.” own l an g ua g e and its own way of knowing. In indigenous societies, 

George Santayana such as the aboriginal tribes of Australia, people have maintained a 

more open relationship with the intelligence of the body. There have 
been documented cases in which aborigines knew in their bodies that 
one of their relatives had been injured many miles away. This body- 
knowledge enabled them to walk directly toward the injured person to 
help them. 

Most of us in modern societies are almost entirely estranged from 
the wisdom of our bodies. The psychological term for this is dissocia¬ 
tion, in everyday language we call this checking out. In a busy, stress- 
filled day, it is likely we sense our body only if it is in pain. For instance, 
we do not usually notice that we have feet unless our shoes are too 
tight. Even though our back is highly sensitive, we are usually unaware 
of it unless we are getting a massage, or have a sunburn or a back in¬ 
jury—arid sometimes not even then. 


BEING PRESENT IN THE BODY 

At this moment, as you are reading the words on this page, can you feel your body? How much of it? 
Where is your body positioned right now? How deeply are you experiencing it? What helps you experience 
it more deeply? 


When we truly inhabit our Instinctive Center—fully occupying 
our body—it gives us a profound sense of fullness, stability, and au¬ 
tonomy or independence. When we lose contact with our Essence, the 
personality attempts to “fill in” by providing a false sense of autonomy. 

To give us this false sense of autonomy, the personality creates what 
psychology calls ego boimdaries. With ego boundaries, we are able to 
say, “This is me and that is not me. That out there is not me, but this 
sensation (or thought, or feeling) here is me.” We usually believe that 
these boundaries correspond with our skin and therefore with the di¬ 
mensions of our real bodies, but this is not always true. 

This is because we are usually sensing habitual tensions, not neces¬ 
sarily the actual contours of our bodies. We may also notice that we 
have almost no sensation in some parts of our bodies: they feel blank 
or empty. The truth is that we are always carrying around a felt sense 
of self that has little to do with how our body actually is, where it is po¬ 
sitioned, or what we are doing. The set of internal tensions that create 
our unconscious sense of self is the foundation of the personality, the 
first layer. 




THE 


TRIADIC 


SELF 


5 3 


While all of the types employ ego boundaries, the Eight, Nine, and 
One do so for a particular reason— they are attempting to use their will 
to affect the world without being affected by it. They try to influence their 
environment, to remake it, control it, hold it back, without having 
their sense of self influenced by it. To put this differently, all three of 
these types resist being influenced by reality in different ways. They try to 
create a sense of wholeness and autonomy by building a “wall” between 
what they consider self and not self, although where these walls are 
varies from type to type and from person to person. 

Our ego boundaries fall into two categories. The first boundary is di¬ 
rected outward. It usually corresponds to our physical body, although not 
always. When we cut our fingernails or hair, or have a tooth extracted, we 
no longer regard them as part of ourselves. Conversely, we may subcon¬ 
sciously regard certain people or possessions as part of ourselves—our 
home, our spouse, or children—although, of course, they are not. 

The second boundary is directed inward. For example, we say that 
we “had a dream,” but we do not think that we are the dream. Some of 
our thoughts or feelings will also be seen as separate from our identity, 
while we definitely identify with others. Of course, different people will 
identify with different feelings and thoughts. One person may experi¬ 
ence anger as part of the self while another will view anger as something 
alien. In all cases, however, it is important to remember that these di¬ 
visions are arbitrary and are the results of habits of the mind. 

In Type Eight the ego boundary is primarily focused outward, against 
the environment. The focus of attention is also outward. The result is 
an expansiveness and an outpouring of the Eight’s vitality into the 
world. Eights are constantly putting out energy so that nothing can get 
too close and hurt them. Their whole approach to life is as if they were 
saying, “Nothing’s going to get the upper hand on me. No one is going 
to get through my defenses and hurt me. I’m going to keep my guard 
up.” The more wounded an Eight is from childhood, the thicker their 
ego boundary, and the tougher they are going to make it for others to 
get through to them. 

Type One individuals also hold a boundary against the outside 
world, but they are far more invested in maintaining their internal 
boundary. All of us have aspects of ourselves that we do not trust or ap¬ 
prove of that make us feel anxious and that we want to defend ourselves 
from. Ones expend enormous energy trying to hold back certain un¬ 
conscious impulses, trying to keep them from getting into conscious¬ 
ness. It is as if Ones were saying to themselves, “I don’t want that 
feeling! I don’t want to have that reaction or that impulse!” They create 
a great deal of physical tension to maintain their inner boundaries and 
hold aspects of their own inner nature at bay. 

Type Nine, the central type in the Triad (the type positioned on the 


“When you are describing or 
explaining or even just inwardly 
feeling your‘self,’ what you are ac¬ 
tually doing, whether you know it 
or not, is drawing a mental line or 
boundary across the whole field 
of your experience, and every¬ 
thing on the inside of that bound¬ 
ary you are feeling or calling your 
‘self’ while everything outside that 
boundary you feel to be ‘not-self.’ 
Your self-identity, in other words, 
depends entirely upon where you 
draw that boundary line. . . .” 

Ken Wilber 

DIRECTIONS OF EGO 
BOUNDARIES IN THE 
INSTINCTIVE TRIAD 

EIGHTS: ENERGY DIRECTED 
OUTWARD AGAINST THE 
ENVIRONMENT 


A 



ONES: ENERGY DIRECTED 
INWARD AGAINST THEIR 
INTERNAL IMPULSES 




THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


S 4 


NINES: ENERGY DIRECTED 
AGAINST BOTH INWARD AND 
OUTWARD “THREATS” 



equilateral triangle), tries to hold their ego boundaries in both areas, in¬ 
ternal and external. In the internal realm, Nines do not want certain 
feelings and states to disturb their equilibrium. They put up a wall 
against parts of themselves just as Ones do, suppressing powerful in¬ 
stinctive drives and emotions. At the same time, Nines maintain a 
strong ego boundary against the outside world so that they will not be 
hurt, like Eights. They often engage in passive-aggressive behaviors and 
turn a blind eye to whatever threatens their peace. It is no wonder that 
Nines report that they often feel fatigued, because it takes a tremendous 
amount of energy to resist reality on both “fronts.” If Nines use most 
of their vitality to maintain these boundaries, it is not available for liv¬ 
ing and engaging more fully in the world. 

Each of these three types has problems with aggression. (While all 
nine personality types are aggressive in different ways, the energy of ag¬ 
gression is a key component in the Instinctive types’ ego structures.) 
Sometimes the aggression is directed, toward the self, sometimes at oth¬ 
ers. In the course of psychological or spiritual work, this aggressive en¬ 
ergy often emerges as a powerful sense of rage. Rage is the instinctive 
reaction to feeling the need to suppress ourselves—the need to close 
down and constrict our aliveness. Eights tend to act out rage, Nines tend 
to deny it, and Ones tend to repress it. 

We can understand the function of rage more clearly in the experi¬ 
ence of a child. All of us, either consciously or unconsciously, feel that 
as children we did not have the space that we needed to fully develop. 
When we start exploring this realm of experience, we will discover that 
beneath our grown-up veneer, we are suppressing (or even more so, re¬ 
pressing) an intense anger that has resulted from this insult to our 
Essential integrity. (On the positive side, anger is also a way of telling 
others “Stay away from me so that I can have my own space! I want and 
need to be whole and independent.”) The problem is that if we carry 
these issues from our childhood, we will continue to feel as though we 
need to protect our “personal space” even when there is no actual threat 
to it. Once these issues have been worked through, the energy that 
drives our rage—as well as the energy that keeps it suppressed—can be 
released and redirected toward other, more fulfilling goals, including 
our transformation. 


IN THE FEELING TRIAD 

In the Instinctive Triad, we saw how seldom we really occupy our 
bodies and are really present with our full vitality. In the same way, we 
seldom dare to be fully in our hearts. When we are, it is often over¬ 
whelming. We therefore substitute all kinds of reactions for the power 



THE 


TRIADIC 


SELF 


5 S 


of real feelings. This is the core dilemma of the Feeling Triad: types 
Two, Three, and Four. 

At the deepest level, your heart qualities are the source of your iden¬ 
tity. When your heart opens, you know who you are, and that “who you 
are” has nothing to do with what people think of you and nothing to 
do with your past history. You have a particular quality, a flavor, some¬ 
thing that is unique and intimately you. It is through the heart that we 
recognize and appreciate our true nature. 

When we are in contact with the heart, we feel loved and valued. 
Moreover, as the great spiritual traditions teach, the heart reveals that 
we are love and value. Our share in the Divine nature means not only 
that we are loved by God, but that the presence of love resides in us— 
we are the conduit through which love comes into the world. When 
our hearts are closed off and blocked, however, not only do we lose 
contact with our true identity, but we do not feel valued or loved. This 
loss is intolerable, so the personality steps in to create a substitute iden¬ 
tity and to find other things to give us a sense of value, usually by seek¬ 
ing attention and external affirmation from others. 


► CONCERNED WITH: 
Love of False Self & Self- 
Image 

► HAVE ISSUES WITH: 
Identity & Hostility 

► SEEKS: Attention 

► UNDERLYING FEELING: 

SHAME 


THE FEELING CENTER 


Right now, as you are reading these words on this page, turn your attention to the area of your heart. 
Take some deep, easy breaths, and actually sense into your chest.What sensations do you experience in this 
area? Allow yourself to relax and breathe deeply and see what you are feeling in the area of your heart. Does 
it feel sharp? Tender? Numb? Aching? What is the exact feeling you are experiencing? If this feeling had a 
color or shape or taste, what would it be? What effect does this exercise have on your sense of yourself? 


Thus, the three types of the Feeling Triad are primarily concerned 
with the development of a self-image. They compensate for a lack of 
deeper connection with the Essential qualities of the heart by erecting 
a false identity and becoming identified with it. They then present this 
image to others (as well as to themselves) in the hope that it will attract 
love, attention, approval, and a sense of value. 

In psychological terms, Twos, Threes, and Fours are the types most 
concerned with their “narcissistic wounding,” that is, with not being 
valued for who they really were as children. Because no one graduates 
from childhood without some degree of narcissistic damage, as adults, 
we have a lot of difficulty being authentic with one another. There is 
always the fear that, when all is said and done, we are really empty and 
worthless. The tragic result is that we almost never actually see each 
other or allow ourselves to be seen, no matter what type we are. We 


“All we need to do is to give 
up our habit of regarding as real 
that which is unreal. All religious 
practices are meant solely to help 
us do this. When we stop regard¬ 
ing the unreal as real, then reality 
alone will remain, and we will be 
that." 


Ramana Maharshi 





5 6 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


FOCUS OF SELF-IMAGE IN 
THE FEELING TRIAD 

TWOS: SELF-IMAGE 
PRESENTED OUTWARDLY 
TO OTHERS 



FOURS: SELF-IMAGE 
PRESENTED INWARDLY 
TO THEMSELVES 



H E 

substitute an image instead, as if we were saying to the world, “This is 
who I am—isn’t it? You like it—-don’t you?” People may affirm us (that 
is, our image), but as long as we identify with our personality, some¬ 
thing deeper always goes unaffirmed. 

The types of rhe Feeling Triad present us with three different solu¬ 
tions to this dilemma: going out to please others so that they will like 
you (Type Two); achieving things and becoming outstanding in some 
way so that people will admire and affirm you (Type Three); or having 
an elaborate story about yourself and attaching tremendous signifi¬ 
cance to all of your personal characteristics (Type Four). 

Two major themes in this Triad involve identity issues (“Who am I?”) 
and problems with hostility (“I hate you for not loving me in the way 1 
want!”). Because Tvvos, Threes, and Fours unconsciously know that their 
identity is not an expression of who they really are, they respond with hos¬ 
tility whenever their personality-identity is not validated. Hostility serves 
both to deflect people who might question or devalue this identity, and to 
defend these types against deeper feelings of shame and humiliation. 

Type Two is looking for value in the good regard of others. Twos 
want to be wanted; they try to obtain favorable reactions by giving peo¬ 
ple their energy and attention. Twos look for positive responses to their 
overtures of friendliness, help, and goodness in order to build up their 
own self-esteem. The focus of their feelings is outward, on others, but as 
a result, they often have difficulty knowing what their own feelings are 
telling them. They also frequently feel unappreciated, although, as much 
as possible, they must conceal the hostile feelings that this generates. 

Type Four is the opposite: their energy and attention go inward to 
maintain a self-image based on feelings, fantasies, and stories from the 
past. Their personality-identity centers on being “different,” being un¬ 
like anyone else, and as a result, they often feel estranged from people. 
Fours tend to create and sustain moods rather than allow whatever feel¬ 
ings are actually present to arise. Less healthy Fours often see them¬ 
selves as victims and prisoners of their pasts. They believe that there is 
no hope of being another way because of all the tragedies and abuses 
that have befallen them. This is also their way of eliciting attention and 
pity from others and, hence, some degree of validation. 

Type Three, the central type of this Triad (the type positioned on 
the equilateral triangle), directs attention and energy both inward and 
outward. Like Twos, Threes need the positive feedback and affirmation 
of others. Threes primarily seek value through accomplishment; they 
develop notions about what a valuable person would be like, then try 
to become that person. But Threes also engage in a great deal of inter¬ 
nal “self-talk,” attempting to create and sustain a consistent internal 
picture of themselves, like Fours. They are always in danger of “believ¬ 
ing their own press releases ’ more than the truth. 



THE 


TRIADIC 


SELF 


S 7 


Despite the various images presented by these types, at root they 
feel valueless, and many of their personality’s agendas are attempts to 
disguise this from themselves and others. Twos attempt to get a sense 
of value by saying, “I know I am valuable because others love and value 
me. I do good things for people, and they appreciate me.” Twos are res¬ 
cuers. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Fours are rescuees. Fours 
tell themselves, “I know I am valuable because I am unique and unlike 
anyone else. I am special because someone took the trouble to rescue 
me. Someone is taking the trouble to attend to my distress, so 1 must 
be worthwhile.” Threes are paragons who do not need rescuing, as if to 
say, “I know I am valuable because I’ve got my act together—there’s 
nothing wrong with me. 1 am valuable because of my accomplish¬ 
ments.” Despite their individual methods for “building self-esteem,” all 
three of these types lack a proper love of self. 

If the types of the Instinctive Triad are trying to manage feelings of 
rage, in the Feeling Triad Twos, Threes, and Fours are trying to deal 
with feelings of shame. When our authentic, Essential qualities are not 
mirrored in early childhood, we come to the conclusion that something 
is wrong with us. The resulting feeling is shame. By attempting to feel 
valuable by means of their self-image, these types hope to escape feel¬ 
ings of shame. Twos become ultragood, trying to be caring and of ser¬ 
vice to others so that they will not feel shame. Threes become perfect 
in their performance and outstanding in their achievements so they will 
be able to resist feeling shame. Fours avoid deeper feelings of shame by 
dramatizing their losses and hurts and by seeing themselves as victims. 


IN THE THINKING TRIAD 

If the Instinctive Triad is about maintaining a felt sense of self and 
the Feeling Triad is about maintaining a personal identity, the Thinking 
Triad is about finding a sense of inner guidance and support. The domi¬ 
nant feelings in types Five, Six, and Seven are anxiety and insecurity. To 
put it another way, the Instinctive Triad types are concerned with re¬ 
sisting aspects of the present. The Feeling Triad types are all past- 
oriented because our self-image is built up out of memories and 
interpretations of the past. The Thinking Triad types are more con¬ 
cerned about the future, as if to ask, “What’s going to happen to me? 
How am I going to survive? How can I prepare myself to keep bad 
things from happening? How do I move forward in life? How do I 
cope? 

The Thinking Triad has lost touch with the aspect of our true na¬ 
ture that in some spiritual traditions is called the quiet mind. The quiet 
mind is the source of inner guidance that gives us the ability to perceive 


THREES: SELF-IMAGE 
PRESENTED BO TH TO SELF 
AND TO OTHERS 



► CONCERNED WITH: 
Strategies & Beliefs 

► HAVE ISSUES WITH: 
Insecurity &C Anxiety 

► SEEKS: Security 

► UNDERLYING FEELING: 

FEAR 



THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


5 8 


“We must be willing to get rid reality exactly as it is. It allows us to be receptive to an inner knowing 

of the life we ve planned, so as to t hat can g U ;j e our act jons. But just as we are seldom fully in our bod- 

have the life that s waiting for us. . , ill ... , 

- les or in our hearts, we seldom have access to the quiet, spacious qual- 

Joseph Campbell ity of the mind. Quite the contrary, for most of us, the mind is an inner 
chatterbox, which is why people spend years in monasteries or in re¬ 
treats trying to quiet their restless minds. In personality, the mind is not 
quiet and not naturally “knowing"—it is forever trying to come up 
with a strategy or a formula so that it can do whatever it thinks will 
allow us to function in the world. 


THETHINKING CENTER 


Right now, allow yourself to relax and get in greater contact with the sensations and impressions you are 
having. Actually sense what it feels like to be alive in your body at this time. Don’t visualize—let yourself ex¬ 
perience whatever is here. As you become more grounded and calm, you may begin to notice your mind be¬ 
coming less “noisy.” Continue this process for a few minutes. Stay in contact with your immediate sensations 
and impressions, and see what effect this has on your thinking. As your mind becomes quieter, are your per¬ 
ceptions clearer or fuzzier? Does your mind seem sharper or duller? 


DIRECTIONS OF “FLIGHT” 
FOR THE THINKING 
TRIAD 

FIVES: FLEE INWARD DUE TO 
FEAR OF ASPECTS OF THE 
OUTSIDE WORLD 



Fives, Sixes, and Sevens cannot get their minds to simmer down. 
This is a problem because the quiet mind allows us to feel profoundly 
supported; inner knowing and guidance arise in the quiet mind and 
give us confidence to act in the world. When these qualities are 
blocked, we feel fear. Their reactions to fear distinguish the three types 
of the Thinking Triad. 

Type Five responds by retreating from life and reducing their per¬ 
sonal needs. Fives believe that they are too frail and insubstantial to 
safely survive in the world. The only safe place is in their minds, so they 
stockpile whatever they believe will help them survive until they are 
ready to rejoin the world. Fives also feel that they do not have enough 
to “bring to the table” to meet the demands of practical life. They re¬ 
treat until they can learn something or master some skill that would 
allow them to feel safe enough to come out of hiding. 

Type Seven, by contrast, charges into life and appears to be afraid 
of nothing. It at first seems strange that Sevens are in a Triad whose 
types are afflicted by fear since they are so outwardly adventurous. 
Despite appearances, however, Sevens are full of fear, but not of the 
outside world: they are afraid of their inner world—of being trapped in 
emotional pain, grief, and especially feelings of anxiety. So they escape 
into activity and anticipation of activity. Sevens unconsciously attempt 
to keep their minds occupied so that their underlying anxieties and 
hurts will not surface. 







THE 


TRIADIC 


SELF 


In Type Six, the central type of this Triad (the type positioned on 
the equilateral triangle), attention and energy are directed both inward 
and outward. Sixes feel anxious inside, and so launch into external ac¬ 
tion and anticipation of the future like Sevens. But having done so, 
they eventually become afraid that they will make mistakes and be pun¬ 
ished or overwhelmed by demands on them, so like Fives, they “jump 
back inside.” They get scared by their feelings again, and the reactive 
cycle continues, with anxiety causing their attention to bounce around 
like a Ping-Pong ball. 

The types of the Thinking Triad tend to have issues related to what 
psychologists call the “separation phase” of ego development. This is 
the stage, around two to four years old, when toddlers begin to won¬ 
der, “How do I move away from the safety and nurturance of Mommy? 
What is safe and what is dangerous?” Under ideal circumstances, the 
father-figure becomes the support and the guide, the person who helps 
the child develop skills and independence. 

The types of this Triad represent the three ways children might at¬ 
tempt to negotiate the separation phase and overcome dependency. 
Sixes look for somebody like a father-figure, someone who is strong, 
trustworthy, and authoritative. Thus, Sixes deal with the loss of inner 
guidance by seeking guidance from others. They are looking for sup¬ 
port to become independent, although ironically they tend to become 
dependent on the very person or system they use to find independence. 
Fives are convinced that support is unavailable or not reliable, so they 
attempt to compensate for the loss of inner guidance by mentally fig¬ 
uring everything out on their own. But because they are “going it 
alone,” they believe they must reduce their need for and attachment to 
anyone if they are going to break away and be independent. Sevens try 
to break away by pursuing substitutes for their mother’s nurturing. 
They go after whatever they believe will make them feel more satisfied 
and secure. At the same time, they respond to the lack of guidance by 
trying everything—as if by the process of elimination, they could dis¬ 
cover the source of nurturance they are secretly looking for. 

The Hornevlan Groups indicate the social style of each type and also 
how each type tries to get its primary needs met (as indicated by its 
Triadic Center). Bringing awareness to the ways in which we uncon¬ 
sciously pursue our desires can help us disengage from powerful iden¬ 
tifications and wake up. 


5 9 


SEVENS: FLEE OUTWARD DUE 
TO FEAR OF ASPECTS OF 
THEIR INNER WORLD 



SIXES: FLEE INWARD TO 
AVOID EXTERNAL THREATS 
AND OUTWARD TO AVOID 
INTERNAL FEARS 



SOCIAL STYLE— 
THE HORNEVIAN 
GROUPS 



THE WISDOM 


O F THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


6 0 


PERSONALITY AND 

ESSENCE: 

CONTRASTING QUALITIES 

Personality 

Essence 

(Asleep) 

(Awake) 

T H 1 N K I N 

G CENTER 

Mental chatter 

Quiet mind 

Figuring it out 

Inner guidance 

Strategies, doubt 

Knowing, clarity 

Anxiety and fear 

Support and steadiness 

Anticipation 

Open to present moment 

(Future orientation) 

(Here and now) 

F E E L I N 

G CENTER 

Self-image 

Authenticity 

Stories 

Truthfulness 

Emotionality 

Compassion 

Holding on to moods 

Forgiveness and flow 

Adapting to affect others 

Inner-directed 

(Past orientation) 

(Here and now) 

INSTINCT 

IVE CENTER 

Boundaries 

Connected with life 

Tension, numbness 

Relaxed, open, sensing 

Defending 

Inner strength 

Dissociating 

Grounded 

Irritation 

Acceptance 

(Resistant to present) 

(Here and now) 


Besides the three Triads, there is another important three-times- 
three grouping of the types, the Hornevian Groups, which we named 
in honor of Karen Horney, a psychiatrist who developed Freud’s work 
by identifying three fundamental ways in which people attempt to 
solve inner conflicts. We could also say that the Hornevian Groups in¬ 
dicate the “social style” of each type: there is an assertive style, a with¬ 
drawn style, and a compliant (to the superego, that is, “dutiful”) style. 
All nine types fall into these three major styles. 




THE TRIADIC 


SELF 


The assertives (Horney’s “moving against people”) include 
the Threes, Sevens, and Eights. The assertive types are ego- Thc Asscrtives 
oriented and ego-expansive. They respond to stress or diffi¬ 
culty by building up, reinforcing, or inflating their ego. They 
expand their ego jn the face of difficulty rather than back 
down, withdraw, or seek protection from others. All three of 
these types have issues with processing their feelings. 

Each of the Hornevian Groups has an intrinsic sense of 
self in relation to other people. Recognizing and understand¬ 
ing the untruth of this “sense of self” can be extremely valu¬ 
able for seeing through some of the major features of our ego. 

A simple example will make this clear: if you were to walk into a room 
full of people, you would automatically experience yourself in a certain 
way. If you are in the assertive group, your first automatic response 
would be, “I am the center. I am what is important here. Now that I 
am here, something is going to happen.” Assertives automatically feel 
that everything meaningful happening is in relation to them. 

Sevens and Eights naturally feel this way. Sevens come into a room 
and subconsciously think, “Here I am, everybody! Things are going to 
be more lively now!” Eights subconsciously think, “Okay, I’m here. 
Deal with me.” These types “take over” the space and expect others to 
react to them. Threes, however, do not easily or naturally feel like the 
center because, as we have seen, they are covertly dependent on the at¬ 
tention of others to feel valuable. As much as possible, Threes will find 
subtle ways to get positive regard from others so they will feel like the 
center, as if to say, “Look at what I have achieved. Look at me and af¬ 
firm my value.” 

The compliants (Homey’s “moving toward people”) include types 
One, Two, and Six. These three types share a need to be of service to 
other people. They are the advocates, crusaders, public servants, and 
committed workers. All three respond to difficulty and stress by con¬ 
sulting with their superego to find out what is the right thing to do, 
asking themselves, “How can I meet the demands of what others expect 
of me? How can I be a responsible person?” 

It is important to understand that the compliant types are not nec¬ 
essarily compliant to other people; they are, however, highly compliant 
to the demands of their superegos. These three types try to obey the in¬ 
ternalized rules, principles, and dictates that they have learned from 
childhood. As a result, they often become authority figures them¬ 
selves—especially Sixes and Ones. (Twos can sometimes also be au¬ 
thority figures, although more often by trying to be the “good parent” 
or a trusted adviser to others.) 

When a person whose type is in the compliant group enters a 
room, their automatic sense of self is that of being “better than” others, 



The Compliants 


5 4 

The Withdrawns 

THE HORNEVIAN GROUPS 



6 2 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


although how this is expressed is usually subtle. Ones may come into 
the room and subconsciously think, “This is so sloppy and disorga¬ 
nized. If I were in charge, things would not be such a mess. 

Twos enter a room and subconsciously think, “These poor people! 1 
wish I had time to give everyone my attention. They look troubled—they 
need my help!” By approaching others from the position of the “loving 
person” who gives their concern and service to others, Twos automatically 
put themselves in the superior role of being “better than” others. 

Sixes are more troubled by inferiority feelings than Ones or Twos, 
but they get a sense of “better than” through their affiliations and so¬ 
cial identifications. (“I’m a Democrat, and we are better than 
Republicans!” “I live in New York, which is a better city than Los 
Angeles.” “Nobody’s better than my team, the 49ers!”) 

The withdrawns (Homey’s “moving away from people”) include 
types Four, Five, and Nine. These types do not have much differentia¬ 
tion between their conscious self and their unconscious, unprocessed 
feelings, thoughts, and impulses. Their unconscious is always welling 
up into consciousness through daydreams and fantasies. 

All three types respond to stress by moving away from engagement 
with the world and into an “inner space” in their imagination. Nines 
withdraw into a safe and carefree Inner Sanctum, Fours withdraw into 
a romantic and idealized Fantasy Self, and Fives withdraw into a com¬ 
plex and cerebral Inner Tinker Toy. In common language, they all can 
“zone out” and go into their imaginations very easily. These types have 
problems with staying in their physicality and with getting out of their 
imaginations and into action. 

The automatic sense of self that arises when they come into a room 
is, “I am not part of what is going on. I am not like these other people. 
I don’t fit in.” The Four and the Five most clearly feel separate from 
others. They reinforce their sense of self by staying apart and being dif¬ 
ferent. In a room full of people. Fours would typically be standoffish 
and aloof and would act in some kind of “mysterious” fashion. On the 
other hand, if they were not in the proper mood, they might simply 
leave, especially since their sense of social obligation is tenuous (“It is 
too much for me. I’m just not up to it right now. . . .”). 

Fives might not mind being there, but they would be just as happy 
at home reading a book or pursuing their own interests. If they stayed, 
Fives would probably sit on the sidelines and watch everybody else. 
They would be more likely to socialize if they could have a context, like 
photographing the proceedings with a camcorder. 

Nines might well enjoy the gathering and even participate, but 
they would remain disengaged. They might nod and smile while think¬ 
ing about a fishing trip, or they might “tune out” almost entirely and 
simply “tag along” with someone, allowing the other person to do most 



THE 


TRIADIC 


SELF 


6 3 


of the social interacting while the Nine remains benignly silent, or 
good-humoredly unresponsive. 

Earlier in this chapter, we saw that the Triads tell us what each type 
most wanted in childhood. The types in the Instinctive Triad most 
wanted autonomy: they sought independence, the ability to assert their 
own will and direct their own life. The types in the Feeling Triad most 
wanted attention: to be seen and validated by their parents. Lastly, the 
types in the Thinking Triad most wanted security: to know that their 
environment was safe and stable. 


The Hornevian Groups tell us the strategy each type employs to get its 
needs met. The assertive types (Three, Seven, and Eight) insist or de¬ 
mand that they get what they want. Their approach is active and direct 
as they go after what they believe they need. The compliant types (One, 

Two, and Six) all attempt to earn something by placating their super¬ 
ego to get what they want. They do their best to be “good boys and 
girls” to get their needs met. The withdrawn types (Four, Five, and 
Nine) all withdraw to get what they want. They disengage from others 
to deal with their needs. 

If we go around the Enneagram, we can put these three groups to¬ 
gether in a way that succinctly characterizes each type’s core motivation 
and style. Beginning with the types in the Instinctive Triad we can see 
that the Eight demands autonomy, the Nine withdraws to gain auton¬ 
omy (to have their own space), and the One attempts to earn autonomy 
(feeling that if they are perfect, others will not interfere with them). 

Moving into the Feeling Triad, we see that the Two, a compliant 
type, tries to earn attention (serving and doing thoughtful things for 
others). The Three, being an assertive type, demands attention (doing 
whatever wins recognition and atten- 

• tion), and the Four, a withdrawn 8, 9, & 1 want 

type, withdraws for attention (in the AUTONOMY 

hope that someone will come and 

discover them). Withdraws 

In the Thinking Triad, the Five Demands 9 Earns 


withdraws for security (“I will be safe 
if I stay away from others”), the Six 
tries to earn security (“I will be safe if 
I do what is expected of me”), and 
the Seven demands security (“I am 
going after whatever I need to feel se- 
cure j. 



THE HORNEVIAN GROUPS WITH THE MOTIVATIONAL 
AIMS OF THE TRIADS 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


COPING STYLE— 
THE HARMONIC 
GROUPS 


The Harmonic Groups are useful for transformational work because 
they indicate how each person copes when they do not get what they 
want (as indicated by the Triad they are in). Thus they reveal the fun¬ 
damental way that our personality defends against loss and disap¬ 
pointment. 


We have also discovered a third significant way to group the nine 
types that we have named the Harmonic Groups. For each primary type 
(those located on the equilateral triangle, the Three, Six, and Nine), 
there are two secondary types that seem very much like it in numerous 
ways—and people repeatedly misidentify themselves as a result of the 
similarities between these types. For example, Nines often misidentify 
themselves as Twos or Sevens; Threes misidentify themselves as Ones or 
Fives, and Sixes are almost notorious in misidentifying themselves as ei¬ 
ther Fours or Eights. 

Even though there are no lines that connect them in the 
Enneagram symbol, common themes and issues unite these types. The 
Harmonic Groups tell us what attitude the type adopts if it fails to 
meet its dominant need. In other words, the Harmonic Groups tell us 
how we cope with conflict and difficulty: how we respond when we do not 
get what we want. *■ 

The Positive Outlook Group is composed of types Nine, Two, and 
Seven. All three respond to conflict and difficulty by adopting, as much 
as possible, a “positive attitude,” reframing disappointment in some 
positive way. They want to emphasize the uplifting aspects of life and 
to look at the bright side of things. These types are morale-builders 
who enjoy helping other people feel good because they want to stay 
feeling good themselves (“I don’t have a problem ). 

These types have difficulty facing the dark side of themselves; they 
do not want to look at anything painful or negative in themselves. Also, 
depending on the type, each has trouble balancing their own needs 
with the needs of others. Twos focus primarily on the needs of 
others, Sevens focus primarily on their own needs, and Nines 
try to focus on both, although often with the result that they 
have trouble adequately fulfilling either. 

The Competency Group is composed of types Three, One, 
and Five. These people have learned to deal with difficulty by 
6 \\\ \/7 3 putting aside their personal feelings and striving to be objec- 

-rive, effective, and competent. They put their subjective needs 

5 4 ant ( feelings on the back burner; they try to solve problems log¬ 

ically and expect others to do the same. 

THE 9-2-7 HARMONIC PATTERN: These three types also have issues related to working 

THE POSITIVE OUTLOOK GROUP within the confines of a structure or a system. (“How do I 




THE 


TRIADIC 


SELF 


6 5 


function within a system? Can I use it to my advantage? Will it 
hamper me from doing what I want to do?”) The types’ attitude to¬ 
ward systems evolved from their relationship with their families. 
These types are not sure how much they want to give themselves 
over to the values of the system, and how much they want to with¬ 
hold themselves from it. Ones operate inside the rules, following 
them so well that no one would dare question their integrity. By 
contrast, Fives tend to operate outside of the rules. Threes want to 
play it both ways, having the benefit of the rules and structures 
while not having the restrictions. 

The Reactive Group is composed of types Six, Four, and Eight. 
These types react emotionally to conflicts and problems and have 
difficulties knowing how much to trust other people: “I need you to 
know how I feel about this.” When problems arise, these types look for 
an emotional response from others that mirrors their concern. In con¬ 
flicts, the reactive types want the other person to match their emotional 
state. “This is really bothering me! It should bother you, too!” The types 



THE 1-3-5 HARMONIC PATTERN: 
THE COMPETENCY GROUP 


MAIN THEMES OF THE POSITIVE 

OUTLOOK GROUP 


Emphasizes: 

Avoids seeing: 

Problems with needs: 

2 

Positive self-image: 

“1 am a caring, 
loving person.” 

They focus on their 
good intentions. 

Their own needi¬ 
ness, disappoint¬ 
ment, and anger. 

Overemphasis on 
the needs of 
others; neglect of 
their own needs. 

7 

Positive experiences, 
enjoyment, activity, 
excitement, and fun. 

Their pain and 
emptiness; their role 
in creating suffering 
for self and others. 

Overemphasis on 
their own needs. 
They easily feel 
burdened by the 
needs of others. 

9 

The positive quali¬ 
ties of others and of 
their environment. 
They idealize their 
world. 

Problems with their 
loved ones or their 
environment as well 
as their own lack of 
development. 

Feeling over¬ 
whelmed by their 
own needs and 
needs of others. 

They do not want 
to deal with either. 




6 6 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


in this group have strong likes and dislikes. If there is a problem, others 
are going to hear about it. In conflicts, they need to deal with their feel¬ 
ings first, and usually once they are able to do so, things can blow over 
fairly quickly and permanently. If they are not able to vent their feelings, 
however, these types can become increasingly resentful and vindictive. 

The Reactive Group types also have difficulty balancing their need 
for independence and self-determination with their need to be nur¬ 
tured and supported by others. They simultaneously trust and distrust 
others: to accept the support and affection of others is a deep desire for 


MAIN THEMES OF THE COMPETENCY 
GROUP 


Emphasizes: 

Manages 

feelings: 

Relation to 
systems: 

1 

Being correct, 
organized, and 
sensible. They focus 
on standards, 
improving them¬ 
selves, and knowing 
the rules. 

By repression and 
denial. Feelings are 
channeled into 
activity, getting 
things done per¬ 
fectly. Feelings are 
also held as physical 
rigidity in the body. 

Ones want to 
work with the 
system. They try 
to be a “good boy 
or girl” and are 
irritated with 
people who disre¬ 
gard the rules. 

3 

Being efficient, 
capable, and.out¬ 
standing. They 
focus on goals, 
being pragmatic, 
and knowing how 
to present self. 

By repression and 
keeping attention 
on tasks, staying 
active. Achievement 
offsets painful feel¬ 
ings. They look to 
others for feeling 
cues. 

Threes want to. 
work with the 
system. But they 
also like being 
outside of it— 
bending rules and 
finding shortcuts. 

3 

Being the expert 
and having deep 
information. They 
focus on the process, 
objective facts, and 
maintaining clarity 
and detachment. 

By splitting off and 
abstracting feelings, 
they stay preoccu¬ 
pied and cerebral, 
as if their feelings 
were happening to 
someone else. 

Fives reject the 
system and want 
to work on their 
own, outside of it. 
They have little 
patience with rules 
or procedures. 




THE 


TRIADIC 


SELF 


6 7 


MAIN THEMES OF THE REACTIVE GROUP 


Seeks: 

Fears: 

Deals with 
others by: 

4 

A rescuer, someone 
to understand them 
and support their 
life and dreams. 

They want to be 
seen. 

Abandonment— 
that no one will 
care for them; that 
they will not have 
enough support to 
find and become 
themselves. 

Keeping others 
interested by lim¬ 
iting access, play¬ 
ing “hard to get,” 
and holding on to 
supporters. 

6 

Both independence 
and support. They 
want someone to 
rely on, but they 
also need to be “the 
strong one.” 

Being abandoned 
and without sup¬ 
port, but also 
becoming too 
dependent on 
others. 

Being committed 
and reliable while 
trying to maintain 
their indepen¬ 
dence; they are 
engaging but also 
defensive. 

8 

Independence and 
self-reliance. They 
want to need others 
as little as possible, 
to be their own 
person. 

Being controlled or 
dominated by 
others. Thus, they 
fear intimacy and 
becoming vulnera¬ 
ble by trusting or 
caring too much. 

Keeping their 
guard up, not let¬ 
ting others get too 
close, and tough¬ 
ening themselves 
against hurt and 
their need for 
others. 


these types, but to do so feels like losing control of them¬ 
selves and of their circumstances. They fear being betrayed 
and need feedback from people in order to know where 
others stand toward them. They are either looking for 
advice and direction (“parenting”) or defying it (rebelling). 
Subconsciously, Fours want to be patented, whereas Eights 
want to play the role of parent and provider. Sixes want it 
both ways, sometimes being the parent, sometimes being 
parented by someone else. 



THE 4-6-8 HARMONIC PATTERN: 
THE REACTIVE GROUP 



6 8 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


HARMONIC GROUPS AT A GLANCE 

The Positive Outlook Group: Deny that they have any problems 

Nine: “What problem? I don’t think there is a problem.” 

Two: “You have a problem. I am here to help you." 

Seven: “There may be a problem, but I’m fine.” 

The Competency Group: Cut off feelings and solve problems logically 

Three: “There’s an efficient solution to this—we just need to get 
to work.” 

One: “I’m sure we can solve this like sensible, mature adults.” 

Five: “There are a number of hidden issues here: let me think 

about this.” 

The Reactive Group: React strongly and need response from others 

Six: “I feel really pressured, and I’ve got to let off some steam!” 

Four: “I feel really hurt, and I need to express myself.” 

Eight: “I’m angry about this and you’re going to hear about it!” 




CHAPTER 6 


DYNAMICS AND 
VARIATIONS 


THE ENNEAGRAM IS not vague. It can help us pinpoint and person¬ 
alize our understanding through a finer set of distinctions than the nine 
basic types. Each type has two Wings and three Instinctual Variants. 
These two “lenses” help us zero in on our personality traits with greater 
accuracy and specificity. But the Enneagram is also unique among per¬ 
sonality typologies in that it shows us ways to develop. It precisely maps 
out the patterns of our growth as well as those which get us into trou¬ 
ble. Through the Levels of Development and the Directions of 
Integration and Disintegration, we can understand the dynamics of our 
personality—the ways in which we change over time. 


The wings help us to individualize the nine (more general) types THE WINGS 

of the Enneagram. Each wing is a subtype of the general type. 

Knowing the wing enables us to narrow down the issues that we 
must face oh the spiritual path. 


Because the nine types are 
arranged around a circle, no matter 
what your basic type, you will have a 
type on each side of it. One of these 
two types will be your wing. The 
wing modifies and blends with the 
basic type and highlights certain ten¬ 
dencies in it. For example, if your 
basic type is Nine, you will have ei¬ 
ther an Eight-wing or a One-wing. 


Nine with an Eight-wing 9*’^\ Nine with a One-wing 



THE WINGS OF TYPE NINE 



7 0 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


8w9: The Bear 
8w7: The Independent 

7u'8; The Realist 
7sv6: The Entertainer ^ 


9iv8: The Referee 9wl: The Dreamer 
hr Rrar _ ^ Iw9: The Idealist 


6w7: The Buddy 
6w5: The Defender * 

5>v6: The Problem-Solver c 
5uT: The Iconoclast 



I 4w3: The Aristocrat 
9w5: The Bohemian 


THE 18 RISO-HUDSON WING SUBTYPE NAMES 



THE RANGE OF 
“TWO NESS” 


The Dreamer No one is a pure type, and in some cases, we 

iw9: The idealist also find Nines with both wings. Most people, 

hv2: The Advocate however, have one dominant wing. 

2 2 ul: ThcScnant Taking the dominant wing into consider- 

2iv3.- The i lost/ilostess at j on produces a unique subtype that is recog- 

j 3w2: The Channer nizable in daily life. For instance, when we 

3«*f: The Professional look at Sevens in the real world, we see that 

9w3: The Aristocrat there are Sevens with an Eight-wing and 

4w5: The Bohemian Sevens with a Six-wing. Each of these two dif¬ 

ferent wing subtypes has a very different fla- 
G SUBTYPE NAMES V or. a]| Q f t } ie (yp e anc J w j n g combinations 

yield eighteen wing subtypes, with two for 
each type. They are each described in their respective type chapters. 

It may help you to think of individual differences by picturing the 
circumference of the Enneagram as a color wheel that gives the full 
range of available colors. 

The types can therefore be thought of as a family of related shades. 
Indicating that someone is a Six, for example, would be the equivalent of 
saying that they are in the “blue family.” While we might not have a pre¬ 
cise notion about what exact shade of blue is being referred to (teal, navy 
blue, sky blue, indigo, powder blue, and so forth), we certainly know the 
difference between blue and red, or between blue and orange, for instance. 

This way of looking at the types shows us that there is a continuum 
of human expression, just as there is a continuum on the color spectrum. 
There are no real divisions between the varieties of personality types, just 
as there are none between the colors of the rainbow. Individual differ¬ 
ences are as unique as different shades, hues, and intensities of color. The 
nine points on the Enneagram are simply “family names” that we use to 
speak meaningfully about differences in personality, ways of speaking 
about main features without getting lost in details. 


THE INSTINCTUAL The Instinctual Variants indicate which of our three basic instincts 

VARIANTS have been most distorted in childhood, resulting in characteristic pre¬ 

occupations and behaviors throughout the entire range of the person¬ 
ality type. 

In addition to the two wing subtypes for each , point of the 
Enneagram, there are three Instinctual Variants for each type, indicat¬ 
ing the different areas of life in which each type’s particular concerns 
will be focused. A person’s dominant Instinctual Variant represents the 
arena in which the issues of their type will be most often played out. 

Just as all nine Enneagram types operate in us, so do all three 


DYNAMICS AND 


VARIATIONS 


Variants, although as with type, one of these Variants will predominate. 
The three instincts can be ranked like the layers of a cake with the most 
dominant instinct on the top layer, another in the middle, and the least 
powerful instinct on the bottom. Further, this can be done without 
knowing the persons Enneagram type; the instincts are clearly defined 
and observable in their own right and are a variable that functions in¬ 
dependently of type and are not therefore a true “subtype.” 

The Instinctual Variants are based on three primary instincts that 
motivate human behavior: the Self-Preservation Instinct, the Social 
Instinct, and the Sexual Instinct. Thus, each Enneagram type has three 
variations based on the three possible dominant instincts. For example, 
a Six could be a Self-Preservation Six, a Social Six, or a Sexual Six, and 
each of these Sixes would have a noticeably different set of concerns. 

A person can therefore be described as a combination of a basic 
type, a wing, and a dominant Instinctual Variant—for example, a Self- 
Preservation One with a Two-wing, or a Sexual Eight with a Nine-wing. 
Since Instinctual Variants and wings are not directly related, it is usually 
easier to look at a type either through the “lens” of the wing or through 
the “lens” of the dominant Instinctual Variant. However, combining 
these two separate frames of reference produces six variations for each 
type, with a total of fifty-four major variations in the entire Enneagram. 

Taking this dimension of personality into account may be a finer 
degree of detail than most people require, but for transformational 
work the Instinctual Variants are important. The Instinctual Variants 
are also noteworthy because they play a pivotal role in relationships. 
People of the same Variant tend to share values and to understand each 
other, whereas couples of different Variants (for example, Self- 
Preservation and Sexual types) will tend to have more conflicts because 
their fundamental values are so different. 


THE SELF-PRESERVATION VARIANT 

Most people can easily identify this Instinctual Variant. Self- 
Preservation types are preoccupied with getting and maintaining physical 
safety and comfort, which often translates into concerns about food, 
clothing, money, housing, and physical health. These issues are their 
main priority, and in pursuing them, other areas of their lives may suffer. 

For example, we might identify this Instinctual Variant in ourselves 
or others by observing what a person would first notice on entering a 
room. Self-Preservation types tend to focus on the comfort of the envi¬ 
ronment. Does the environment support their sense of well-being? 
They are quick to notice and respond to poor lighting, or uncomfort¬ 
able chairs, or to be dissatisfied with the room temperature, and they are 



7 2 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE ENNEAGRAM 


constantly adjusting these things. They may wonder when their next 
meal or coffee break will come, worry if there will be enough food, or if 
it will be the kind they like, or if it will meet their dietary requirements. 

When this instinct is functioning harmoniously with the personality 
type, these people can be earthy and practical. They apply their energies to 
taking care of basic life necessities-—creating a secure environment, shop¬ 
ping, maintaining the home and workplace, paying bills, and acquiring 
useful skills so that the orderly flow of life will not be interrupted. When 
the personality becomes unhealthy, however, it distorts the instinct, caus¬ 
ing these people to take poor care of themselves, possibly developing eating 
and sleeping disorders. They may stock up on too many things, overbuy, 
overeat, and overpurge themselves of unnecessary “baggage” of all sorts. 

Less healthy Self-Preservation types let themselves go physically, or . 
they become obsessive about health and food matters, or both. Further, 
their normal practicality and financial sense may become distorted, re¬ 
sulting in problems with money and organizing their affairs. If the Self- 
Preservation instinct becomes completely overwhelmed by personality 
issues, individuals may engage in deliberately self-destructive behavior, 
in which the instinct has the effect of turning against itself. 

When the other two instincts dominate in an individual and the Self- 
Preservation instinct is the least developed, attending to the basics of life 
does not come naturally. It will not always occur to such individuals that 
they need to eat or sleep properly. Environmental factors will be relatively 
insignificant, and they will tend to lack the drive to accumulate wealth or 
property—or even to care about such matters. Time and resource man¬ 
agement will typically be neglected, often with seriously detrimental ef¬ 
fects to their own careers, social life, and material well-being. 


THE SOCIAL VARIANT 

Most of us are aware that we have a social component, but we tend 
to see it as our desire to socialize, to attend parties, meetings, belong to 
groups, and so forth. The Social instinct, however, is actually some¬ 
thing much more fundamental. It is a powerful desire, found in all 
human beings, to be liked, approved of, and to feel safe with others. On 
our own, we are rather weak and vulnerable and can easily fall prey to 
a hostile environment. We lack the claws, fangs, and fur of other ani¬ 
mals, and if we did not band together and cooperate with each other, 
it is unlikely that our species—or we as individuals—would be able to 
survive. Being able to adjust ourselves to others and be acceptable is a 
fundamental, survival-based human instinct. 

People who have a dominant Social instinct are preoccupied with 
being accepted and necessary in their world. They are concerned with 



DYNAMICS AND 


VARIATIONS 


7 3 


maintaining the sense of value they get from participating in activities 
with others, be they family, group, community, national, or global ac¬ 
tivities. Social types like to fed involved, and they enjoy interacting 
with others for common purposes. 

On entering a room, Social types would be immediately aware of 
the power structures and subtle “politics” between the different people 
and groups. They are subconsciously focused on others’ reactions to 
them—particularly on whether they are being accepted or not. They 
are attuned to the notion of “place” within a hierarchical social struc¬ 
ture, in regard both to themselves and to others. This can manifest in 
many ways, such as the pursuit of attention, success, fame, recognition, 
honor, leadership, and appreciation, as well as the security of being part 
of something larger than themselves. Of all the Instinctual Variants, 
Social types like to know what is going on in their world; they need to 
“touch base” with others to feel safe, alive, and energized. This can 
range from an interest in office politics or neighborhood gossip to 
world news and international diplomacy. We could say that the Social 
instinct is a kind of contextual intelligence: it gives us the ability to see 
our efforts and their effects in a broader context. 

In general, Social types enjoy interacting with people, although 
ironically, they tend to avoid intimacy. As with all of the instincts, if the 
person becomes unhealthy, the instinct manifests as its opposite. 
Unhealthy Social types can become extremely antisocial, detesting peo¬ 
ple and resenting society, and as a result, they may have poorly devel¬ 
oped social skills. They fear and distrust others and cannot get along 
with people, while at the same time they are unable to disengage from 
their social connections. In brief, Social types focus on interacting with 
people in ways that will build their personal value, their sense of ac¬ 
complishment, and their security of place with others. 

When the other two instincts dominate in an individual and the 
Social instinct is least developed, attending to social endeavors and com¬ 
mitments does not come naturally. Such individuals have difficulty seeing 
the point of creating and sustaining social connections, often disregarding 
the impact of the opinions of others. Their sense of involvement with 
their community, at any scale, may be minimal. They often have little 
connection with people, feeling that they do not need others and that oth¬ 
ers do not need them. Thus, there may be frequent misunderstandings 
with allies and supporters as well as friends and family members. 


THE SEXUAL VARIANT 

Many people initially want to identify themselves as this Variant, 
perhaps because they believe that this would mean that they are sexy or 



7 4 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


because they enjoy sex. Of course, sexiness is highly subjective, and 
there are “sexy” people in all three of the Instinctual Variants. If we wish 
to be one Variant rather than another, it is good to remember that the 
personality tends to interfere with and distort the dominant instinct. Thus, 
people of the Sexual Variant tend to have recurrent problems in the 
areas of intimate relationships. As with the other Variants, we need to 
see the way that the instinct plays out more broadly. 

In the Sexual types, there is a constant search for connection and an 
attraction to intense experiences—not only sexual experiences but any 
situation that promises a similar charge. In all things. Sexual types seek 
intense contact. They may find intensity in a ski jump, a deep conversa¬ 
tion, or an exciting movie. They are the “intimacy junkies” of the 
Instinctual Variants. On the positive side. Sexual types possess a wide- 
ranging, exploratory approach to life; on the negative side, they have 
difficulty focusing on their own real needs and priorities. 

On entering a room, Sexual types quickly focus on finding where 
the most interesting people are. They tend to follow their attractions. 
(By contrast, Social types notice who is talking with the host, who has 
power, prestige, or who might be able to help them. Self-Preservation 
types will note the temperature of the room, where the refreshments are, 
and what might be a comfortable place to sit.) Sexual types gravitate to¬ 
ward people they feel magnetized by, regardless of the person’s potential 
for helping them or their social standing. It is as if they were asking, 
“Where is the juice in this room? Whose energy is most intense?” 

Sexual types tend to have difficulty pursuing their own projects or 
taking adequate care of themselves, because on a subconscious level, 
they are always looking outside themselves for the person or situation 
that will complete them. They are like a plug looking for a socket and 
can become obsessed with another if they feel they have found the right 
person for them. They may neglect important obligations, or even their 
own basic necessities, if they are swept up in someone or something 
that has captivated them. 

When they are unhealthy, Sexual types can experience a scattering 
of their attention and a profound lack of focus. They may act out in 
sexual promiscuity or become trapped in a fearful, dysfunctional atti¬ 
tude toward sex and intimacy. When the latter becomes their orienta¬ 
tion, they will be equally intense about their avoidances. 

When the other two instincts dominate in an individual and the 
Sexual instinct is least developed, attending to matters of intimacy and 
stimulation—mental or emotional—docs not come naturally. They 
know what they like, but often find it difficult to get deeply excited or 
enthusiastic about anything. Such individuals also tend to have diffi¬ 
culty being intimate with others and may even avoid it altogether. They 
also tend to fall into routines, feeling uncomfortable if there is too 



DYNAMICS AND VARIATIONS 


much that is unfamiliar in their lives. They may feel socially involved 
with people but strangely disconnected even from spouses, friends, and 
family members. 


The Levels of Development offer a way of observing and measuring 
our degree of identification with our personality structures. Further, 
they make crucial distinctions between the types possible, and within 
each type, they add the “vertical” dimension to an otherwise “hori¬ 
zontal” categorical system. 


Clearly, some people are high-functioning, open, balanced, stable, 
and able to handle stress well, while others are more troubled, reactive, 
emotionally stuck, and cannot handle stress effectively. Further, most 
of us have experienced a wide range of states over the course of our 
lives, from free, life-affirming ones, to painful, dark, neurotic ones. 

The nine personality types alone are merely a set of “horizontal” 
categories, however subtle they may be. But if the system is to mirror 
human nature accurately and reflect the ever-changing states within 
our type, there also needs to be a way to account for “vertical” move¬ 
ment and development within each type. The Levels of Development 
and the Directions of Integration and Disintegration answer this need. 

Ken Wilber, a pioneer in developing models of human conscious¬ 
ness, has pointed out that any complete psychological system needs to 
account for both horizontal and vertical dimensions. The horizontal di¬ 
mension alone describes only the characteristics - of the types; for a sys¬ 
tem to be complete, however, the vertical element must be taken into 
account, which is what the Levels of Development do. 

As obvious as it now seems, and as widely used as the distinction 
now has become, it had not been done until Don began to develop 
the vertical dimension of the Enneagram types (by distinguishing the 
healthy, average, and unhealthy ranges). When he accounted for the 
even finer nine Levels of Development, the Enneagram became a fully 
developed, two-dimensional model, vastly more capable of represent¬ 
ing the complexity of human nature. These two dimensions can be rep¬ 
resented somewhat like a cake with nine layers. 

The Levels of Development have many profound practical and 
therapeutic implications, as we will see throughout this book. They are 
a framework that makes movement, growth, and deterioration within 
each type clear; they help predict behavior, and at their simplest, they 
are a yardstick of a person’s mental and emotional health. 

The Levels within each type are distinct and yet interrelated; they 
give us away of thinking about “where” in the range of healthy, average, 


THE LEVELS OF 
DEVELOPMENT 



THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


7 6 


and unhealthy traits a person is within each type 

and the “direction” in which they are moving. 

They are important for therapy and self-help as a 

way of specifying which issues are uppermost in a 

person’s transformational work at any given time. 

They are also helpful for understanding which 

traits and motivations properly go with each type 

and, as a result, for understanding the causes of 

mistyping and other confusions. For example, 

Eights are often characterized as “aggressive” and 
THE HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL DIMENSIONS ^ as Wuctive ;< akh h a H ^ can be ag . 

OF THE ENNEAGRAM . . j • • u ■ -ru 

gressive and seductive in their own ways. 1 he 

Levels help us see how and when an Eight might be aggressive, for in¬ 
stance, and more importantly, why. Perhaps most profoundly, the Levels 
give us a measure of a person’s degree of identification with his or her per¬ 
sonality—that is, how defended and shut down or how liberated and 
open the person is. 

It is almost impossible to make generalizations about the types with¬ 
out taking the Levels into consideration, because as each type 
deteriorates down the Levels, many of its characteristics become their op¬ 
posite. For instance, healthy Eights are the most big-hearted and con¬ 
structive of the types. They provide the circumstances in which others 
can flourish and be strong. But the opposite is true of unhealthy Eights: 
full of rage and feeling that the world is against them, they are extremely 
destructive and hard-hearted. Healthy and unhealthy Eights will seem so 
different from each other that they may seem to be two different types. 
Furthermore, because people range within the Levels of their type, no 
single trait will always be true of a type. It is therefore unwise to type any¬ 
one on the basis of a handful of traits, since all of the behaviors associated 
with each type change at different Levels of Development. 

While our type seems to be mainly inborn, the result of hereditary and 
prenatal factors including genetic patterning, our early childhood environ¬ 
ment is the major factor in determining at which Level of Development we 
function. Interviewing people on panels in our workshops and professional 
trainings has confirmed the commonsense observation that the quality of 
parenting and other related environmental factors (such as health, educa¬ 
tion, nutrition, and the availability of other resources) all have a tremen¬ 
dous impact on a child’s subsequent level of functioning. 

This is because each Level represents an increasing layer of fear and de¬ 
fense. It is important to remember, however, that all of these fears and de¬ 
fenses arose in childhood and are carried into our adult life by automatic 
habits and unexamined belief systems. We can also see how the degree of 
dysfunction that we had to cope with in our early life determined how 
many layers of these defenses we had to adopt. The more toxic our child- 








DYNAMICS AND VARIATIONS 


7 7 


hood environment, the greater the fear that has been instilled in us, and the 
more limited and rigid are the ways we employ to deal with our situation. 

The Levels encourage us to think of the development of the types 
not as a simple on/off switch, but as a continuum of growth. They pro¬ 
vide us with early warnings of when we are becoming enmeshed in 
dysfunctional behaviors before it is too late and bad habits have be¬ 
come entrenched. In the type chapters, we will indicate specific “Wake- 
up Calls,” “Social Roles,” “Red Flags,” and other features that will help 
you become more aware of your progress or deterioration along the 
Levels of your type. As you get to know them and see them function¬ 
ing in yourself and others, they will become a tool for awareness sec¬ 
ond in importance only to the Enneagram itself. 


THE STRUCTURE OF THE LEVELS 

Each type has three main ranges: healthy, average, and unhealthy, 
with three Levels within each of those ranges. The healthy range (Levels 
1-3) represents the high-functioning aspects of the type. The average 
range (Levels 4-6) represents the “normal” behaviors of the type. This 
is where we most often find ourselves and where most people operate. 
The unhealthy range (Levels 7-9) represents the deeply dysfunctional 
manifestations of the type. 

We can also understand the Levels as a measure of our degree of 
freedom and awareness. In the healthy range, we are increasingly free 
from the constraints of our personality structures, as well as the habits 
and mechanisms of our ego. We are free to be in the moment, to 
choose, and to act with spontaneous wisdom, strength, and compas¬ 
sion, among other positive qualities. 

As we spiral down the Levels, however, our freedom is increasingly 
constricted. We become so identified with our personality mechanisms 
that we are entirely driven by them, resulting in more suffering for our¬ 
selves and others. We become more and more out of touch with real¬ 
ity, with our capacity to make balanced assessments of our situation, 
and with our ability to stop the avalanche of our ego compulsions. And 
if we should deteriorate into the unhealthy range, we have almost no 
freedom of choice whatsoever. Perhaps the only freedom we have in the 
lower Levels is the ability to choose to go on in the same destructive 
patterns or to reach out for help—to say either no or yes to life. 

The Bandwidth 

While our basic type does not change, the Level at which we are 
operating changes all the time. We may move up and down several 



7 8 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Levels of our type in a single day within a certain “bandwidth” or range 
of habitual behaviors. We may wake up in a balanced, healthy state, but 
have a bad argument with a colleague and fall two or three Levels. Even 
though our state can radically change in a short time, we are not a dif¬ 
ferent personality type—we are simply manifesting different behaviors 
at different Levels of our type. 

It may be helpful to visualize the nine Levels of our type as a 
wooden pegboard with nine holes drilled in it, with one hole for each 
Level. We have a wooden peg sitting in one of the nine holes. The 
placement of our peg represents the “center of gravity” of our person¬ 
ality. At the same time, we also have a rubber band attached to the 
wooden peg, and it stretches up when we are more relaxed and cen¬ 
tered, or it stretches down in times of stress. All things being equal, we 
will tend to return to the Level of our peg, wherever our center of grav¬ 
ity is. The important thing to understand is that real transformation is 
denoted not by the movement of the rubber band but by the movement 
of the peg. When our center of gravity shifts, it marks a profound 
change in our entire state of being. 

Our mood or state changes all the time, whereas our center of grav¬ 
ity changes much more slowly—usually only as the result of major life 
crises, or of doing long-term transformational work. When our center 
of gravity shifts upward even a single Level, we often look back at our 
former states and wonder how we could have lived that way. We can see 
our former lower-Level behaviors and attitudes for the constrictions 
and compensations that they actually were, but which we could not see 
when we were identified with them. 

The illustration may make these ideas more 
clear. Person A has a bandwidth from Levels 2 to 
5, whereas Person B has one from Levels 5 to 8. 
Even though they are the same type, these two in¬ 
dividuals would still be noticeably different in 
Person A their motivations, attitudes, and behaviors, as 

well as their emotional stability and the quality of 
their relationships. The arrows indicate at which 
Level each person has his or her “peg” or center of 
gravity. As we can see, Person As center of gravity 
is at Level 3, whereas Person B’s is at Level 6, 
again accounting for vast differences in the ex¬ 
pression of their personality structure. 

If our inner work is to be effective, it is impor¬ 
tant to recognize an unsettling truth: no matter 
what Level we are actually functioning at (that is, 
no matter where our center of gravity is), we tend to 
see our motivations as coming from the healthy 



THE BANDWIDTH AND 
THE CENTER OF GRAVITY 



DYNAMICS 


AND 


VARIATIONS 


7 9 


range. The defenses of our ego are such that we always see ourselves as our 
idealized self-image, even when we are only average or even pathological. 
For example, our actual behavior might be at Level 6 or 7, but we will 
tend to see ourselves at a much healthier Level (generally, Level 2). 
Therefore, perhaps the first real step we can take on our inner journey is 
to accurately identify not only our type, but the range of Levels we nor¬ 
mally traverse and, importantly, where our center of gravity currently is. 
The Enneagram will do us no good if we delude ourselves into thinking 
we are healthier than we actually are. 

Mood Versus Level 

It is also worth noting that a shift up the Levels is not the same as a 
shift in our mood. Being in a better mood is not necessarily a marker of 
being at a higher Level of Development. Our Level is really a function 
of freedom and awareness, not of mood. Thus, being at a higher Level 
does not mean that we will always be in a good mood, just as being at a 
lower Level does not mean that we always will be in a bad mood. An in¬ 
dividual could be solidly entrenched at Level 6, completely identified 
with his personality and highly reactive. He may have just smashed 
someone in a business deal and be feeling great about it. This kind of 
gleeful reaction is not the same thing as having internal freedom or real 
joy. When something goes wrong, the person becomes reactive and neg¬ 
ative again—and is once again at the mercy of externals. 

On the other hand, having serenity and vitality and engagement 
with the real world—as opposed to our illusions and delusions—in the 
midst of difficulties are signs of spiritual growth. When we are centered 
and grounded, connected with ourselves and our Essential Being, we 
experience a quiet joy that is palpably different from being in a good 
mood. Thus, at their most profound, the Levels are really a measure of 
how connected or disconnected we are with our true nature. 

We will now examine some of the major features of the average, 
unhealthy, and healthy ranges of the Levels of Development— 
and their relevance for inner work. We follow this sequence because 
the type chapters are structured this way, and because most people will 
find themselves in the average range as they begin their inner work. 


THE AVERAGE RANGE 

In this range, people are functional and act in ways that others 
would consider normal, but they are increasingly identified with their 
ego identity. As a result, they are aware of and able to actualize only a 
relatively narrow range of their full human potential. Indeed, as indi- 



8 0 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


viduals spiral down the Levels within the average range, each type man¬ 
ifests increasing degrees of ego-centricity since the maintenance of the 
ego becomes the personality’s main agenda. Moreover, life and rela¬ 
tionships present many situations that do not support their self-image, 
so manipulation of self and others is always involved and interpersonal 
conflicts inevitably occur. 

The Wake-up Call 

The Wake-up Call serves as an indicator that we are moving from the 
healthy range of our type to the more fixated average range. This is a clue 
that we are becoming more identified with our ego and that conflicts and 
other problems are sure to arise. For example, the Wake-up Call for 
Nines is the tendency to avoid conflicts by going along with people. As 
Nines become more identified with their particular ego structure, they 
say yes to things that they do not want to do, repressing themselves and 
their legitimate needs and desires until conflicts inevitably occur. 


THE 

WAKE-UP CALLS 

1 

Feeling a sense of personal obligation to fix everything themselves 

2 

Believing that they must go out to others to win them over 

3 

Beginning to drive themselves for status and attention 

4 

Holding on to and intensifying feelings through the imagination 

5 

Withdrawing from reality into concepts and mental worlds 

6 

Becoming dependent on something outside the self for guidance 

7 

Feeling that something better is available somewhere else 

8 

Feeling that they must push and struggle to make things happen 

9 

Outwardly accommodating themselves to others 




DYNAMICS 


AND VARIATIONS 


8 I 


We will discuss the Wake-up Calls for the nine types at more length 
in each of the type chapters. Observing yourself doing these is one of 
the most powerful ways to use the Enneagram in your daily life. 

The Social Role 

Once we enter the average range, we increasingly feel that we need 
to be a certain way and we need other people to respond to us as being 
that way. We are much more dependent on the particular coping mech¬ 
anisms of our type, and we are much more fixated on achieving our 
Basic Desire through those mechanisms. Although we are still func¬ 
tional and pleasant enough, a certain sameness or repetitiveness enters 
the picture. In family systems theory, this is where the child starts play¬ 
ing a particular role, such as the Family Hero, the Lost Child, or the 
Scapegoat. We will discuss the Social Role of each type in the individ¬ 
ual type chapters. Observing yourself as you slip in and out of your 
own Social Role is an extremely practical and powerful way to make life 
your arena for transformational practice. 


HOW EACH TYPE MANIPULATES OTHERS 

1 

By correcting others—by insisting that others share their standards 

2 

By finding out others’ needs and desires—thus creating dependencies 

3 

By charming others—and by adopting whatever image will “work” 

4 

By being temperamental—and making others “walk on eggshells” 

5 

By staying preoccupied—and by detaching emotionally from others 

6 

By complaining—and by testing others’ commitment to them 

7 

By distracting others—and by insisting that others meet their demands 

8 

By dominating others—and by demanding that others do as they say 

9 

By “checking out”—and by passive-aggressively resisting others 




8 2 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


“He who cannot change the 
very fabric of his thought will 
never be able to change reality." 

Anwar Sadat 


The Social Role and Relationships 

When we become locked into our Social Roles, we try to get the 
environment—mainly other people—to support our ego and its agen¬ 
das, usually resulting in conflicts. When this occurs, we know that we 
are becoming more identified with our personality’s agenda. We require 
others to interact with us only in ways that support our self-image. 
Conflicts arise because each type uses other people to get what it needs 
for its ego payoffs. People identified with their Social Role can get 
locked into a frustrating dance with each other, rewarding and reject¬ 
ing each other just enough to keep the other person in the dance. In re¬ 
lationships of this kind, one person’s neurosis dovetails with the other 
person’s neurosis, creating a static balance that can be difficult to break. 

We may also attempt to manipulate others into meeting our Basic 
Desire in various ways through inappropriate strategies that backfire in 
the long run. Many of our failed or troubled relationships are a testa- 


THE 

LEADEN RULE FOR THE TYPES 

1 

Fearing that they may be evil, corrupt, or defective in some way, Ones point out evil, cor¬ 
ruption, and defectiveness in others. 

2 

Fearing that they are unwanted and unloved, Twos make others feel unworthy of their 
. love, generosity, or attention. 

3 

Fearing that they are worthless and without value in themselves, Threes make others feel 
valueless by treating them arrogantly or with contempt. 

4 

Fearing that they do not have an identity or any personal significance of their own, Fours 
treat people disdainfully, as if others were “nobodies” and had no value or significance. 

3 

Fearing that they are helpless, incapable, and incompetent, Fives make others feel helpless, 
incompetent, stupid, and incapable. 

6 

Fearing that they are without support or guidance, Sixes undermine die support systems 
of others, trying to isolate them in some fashion. 

7 

Fearing that they are trapped in pain and deprivation of some sort, Sevens cause pain and 
make others feel deprived in various ways. 

8 

Fearing that they will be harmed or controlled by others, Eights make others fear that they 
will be harmed or controlled by their belligerent and intimidating threats. 

9 

Fearing that they will suffer loss of connection with others, Nines make others feel that 
they have lost connection with the Nine by “tuning out” people in various ways. 






DYNAMICS AND VARIATIONS 


8 3 


ment to how frustrating these strategies can be. Once we are locked 
into a pattern of defending our self-image and manipulating others 
into supporting it, real relating becomes difficult if not impossible. 

The Leaden Rule 

If such manipulations fail to get our needs met, we may intensify our 
campaign. Rather than stopping our self-defeating behaviors, without 
awareness, we tend to employ them more aggressively. At this stage, we are 
not merely trying to get other people to support our ego agendas, we are 
forcing them on others. Ego inflation is at its maximum, and we act out our 
anxieties and aggressively pursue our Basic Desire, either overtly or covertly. 

We have discovered a feature of the types that occurs at the bottom 
of the average range. We call this feature the Leaden Rule, the opposite 
of the more famous Golden Rule. If the Golden Rule tells us, “Do unto 
others as you would have them do unto you,” the Leaden Rule states, 
“Do unto others what you most fear having done unto you." 

The Leaden Rule points out that each type has its own special way 
of aggressively undermining others to bolster its own ego. The false be¬ 
lief is that “If I put someone else down a notch, it will lift me up one.” 
Thus, each type begins to inflict its own Basic Fear on others. For in¬ 
stance, if Eights fear being harmed or controlled by others, they start' 
threatening people with harm and control. (“You better do it my way, 
or else I’m going to make you sorry. If I get angry, you know what’s 
going to happen!”) They become intimidating, belligerent, and ex¬ 
tremely confrontational. If the Four’s Basic Fear is of having no per¬ 
sonal significance, they may aloofly dismiss others, treating them as if 
they had no personal significance. They may treat waiters or doormen 
rudely, or cut off friends from further contact as if they did not exist 
and had no feelings of their own. 

The Red Flag 

Before each type moves into the unhealthy range, each encounters 
what we call the Red Flag fear. If the Wake-up Call was an invitation to 
awaken before the person moved deeper into the average Levels and 
into fixation and increasing “sleep,” the Red Flag is a far more serious 
alarm that signals an imminent crisis. 

The Red Flag is a fear, although one that is realistic and needs to be 
heeded if the person is to resist the destructive forces that are threaten¬ 
ing to sweep him or her down the Levels. If the person is shocked into 
awareness by his Red Flag fear, he may be able to stop acting out the 
behaviors and attitudes that have gotten him into his current perilous 



THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


8 4 


THE 

RED FLAG FEARS 

1 

That their ideals are actually wrong and counterproductive 

2 

That they are driving friends and loved ones away 

3 

That they are failing, that their claims are empty and fraudulent 

4 

That they are ruining their lives and wasting their opportunities 

5 

That they are never going to find a place in the world or with people 

6 

That their own actions have harmed their security 

7 

That their activities are bringing them pain and unhappiness 

8 

That others are turning against them and will retaliate 

9 

That they will be forced by reality to deal with their problems 


position. If, however, he is unable or unwilling to heed his Red Flag, he 
may persist in his self-defeating attitudes and behaviors, with the almost 
certain result that he will fall into increasingly destructive states. 


THE UNHEALTHY RANGE 

For any number of reasons, people can fall into the unhealthy 
range, but fortunately, it is not as easy to get really stuck there. We may 
temporarily resort to unhealthy behaviors, but it is rare for our center 
of gravity to move into the unhealthy range. This is because the de¬ 
marcation or zone between the average and unhealthy ranges seems to 
act as a brake in the personality’s deterioration. Thus, many people can 
function within the average range for years without becoming un¬ 
healthy. We call this demarcation in the Levels a shock point. 

Because it takes an additional “shock” or input of energy to move 
into the unhealthy Levels, most people do not move there unless one of 
two things has occurred. The first is a major life crisis, such as the loss of 





DYNAMICS 


AND 


VARIATIONS 


8 5 


a job or of a spouse through divorce or death, or a major medical or fi¬ 
nancial catastrophe. If we do not have the psychological and spiritual 
tools to deal with such crises, we can suddenly fall into the unhealthy 
range and be unable to get out. Fortunately, under these circumstances, 
many people realize that they are “going under” and need to see a ther¬ 
apist or become involved in a recovery program of some kind. 

The second reason people move into the unhealthy range is that 
unhealthy patterns were established in childhood. People regress to ear¬ 
lier, more primitive behavior when conditions become too challenging 
for them. People who have been extremely abused and hurt (emotion¬ 
ally, mentally, sexually, or physically) as children have had to build huge 
defenses to protect themselves. Under these conditions, they were never 
able to learn healthy coping skills and are highly vulnerable to slipping 
back into destructive patterns. 

When we become unhealthy, we lose touch with our true nature; 
to an increasing degree, we lose touch with reality. We become caught 
in a maze of reactions and illusions, out of control, and we cannot see 
solutions to our intensifying fears and conflicts—nor to any practical 
problems we face. We can only react more intensely and put more pres¬ 
sure on the environment to solve our problems for us. We become so 
completely identified with the limited mechanisms of our personality 
that other solutions do not occur to us; or even if they do, we realize 
that we cannot act on them without extraordinary help. Of course, we 
do not will ourselves to be unhealthy, but we collapse into these states 
through ignorance and because the earlier circumstances of our lives 
did not show us healthier ways of coping with our problems. 

In the end, the unhealthy range represents a profound self- 
abandonment—although a self-abandonment that was forced on us by 
circumstances. While we cannot undo the history of our childhood and 
we cannot prevent catastrophes from occurring, we can develop our in¬ 
ternal resources so that problems do not destroy us. We can also 
shorten our recovery time when troubles occur. Our transformational 
work can eventually produce great serenity, acceptance, nonreactive- 
ness, compassion, and an expanded perspective about our lives. 


“Look into the depths of your 
own soul and learn to know your¬ 
self, then you will understand why 
this illness was bound to come 
upon you and perhaps you will 
thenceforth avoid falling ill.” 

Freud 


THE HEALTHY RANGE 

In this range, although the ego identity is in place, it is worn 
lightly, so to speak, and expresses itself beneficially in the world. Each 
type has a healthy way of embodying the personal qualities with which 
they have most identified. An individual operating in the healthy range 
would be seen by most people within their culture as extremely bal¬ 
anced, mature, and high-functioning; however, even at Levels 2 and 3, 



THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


8 6 


“We have to become some¬ 
body before we can become no¬ 
body.” 

Jack Engler 


the person is still operating from some degree of ego, compensating for 
his or her Basic Desire and Basic Fear. 

For example, in response to their Basic Fear of being harmed or 
controlled by others, Eights define themselves as strong, capable, ac¬ 
tion-oriented, and assertive. They feel the need to prove these qualities 
to themselves and to others, so they take on challenges and engage in 
constructive activities that require strength and willpower. They be¬ 
come empowering, protective leaders, creating conditions in which 
others can flourish. 

Twos define themselves as loving, caring, and selfless, but healthy 
Twos reinforce this self-image by actually going out in the world to per¬ 
form loving, caring, generous acts. They become good friends and 
benefactors who share their gifts and resources with others because this 
behavior reinforces their self-definition. 

If more people were operating in the healthy range, the world would 
be a much better place. Although most of us have experienced what it is 
like to function in this range at one time or another, our environment, 
culture, and perhaps our family generally do not support this kind of 
openness, so few of us are able to maintain this degree of freedom for 
long. All too often, fears arise, causing us to fall into the average range. 

To stay healthy, however, requires the intention to be healthy—and 
this requires the intention to be present and awake. This means that we 
must use the tools and practices available to us to cultivate awareness. As 
our awareness strengthens, we can become conscious of another “shock 
point” between the healthy and average ranges (between Levels 3 and 4) 
that can be activated by the Wake-up Call that we have already seen. Just 
as there is a profound shift between the unhealthy and average ranges, 
there is another between the average and healthy ranges. We can pass 
through this “shock point” in either direction, falling into the average 
and unhealthy ranges through crises or life circumstances, or ascending 
the Levels by consciously working through the issues involved. 


THE LEVEL OF LIBERATION 

By the time we have worked through our issues (more or less Level 
by Level) and have arrived fully in the healthy range, our ego has 
achieved a noteworthy degree of balance and transparency, and we are 
poised to take the last step toward living out of our Essential nature. 
Simply stated, liberation happens to the degree that ive no longer identify 
with our ego. Aspects of it may well still exist, but they are no longer the 
center of our identity. However, the ego must be restored to its natural 
balance and functioning before real and lasting liberation can be 
achieved. At this stage, the person has let go of a particular self-image and 



DYNAMICS 


AND VARIATIONS 


8 7 


worked through his or her Basic Fear and has expanded his or her aware¬ 
ness to act rightly on the Basic Desire. All of these processes take balance, 
wisdom, courage, fortitude, and enough psychological integrity to with¬ 
stand the anxiety involved in the dissolution of the ego identity. 

When we arrive at the Level of Liberation, it usually comes as a big 
surprise to find that we already have the very qualities that we have 
been looking for. We become aware that they were present all along, 
but that we were going about looking for them in the wrong way. Just 
like Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz, we discover that we were 
closer to realizing our goal than we imagined. Everything we need for 
our transformation, everything we require to be complete human be¬ 
ings, is available to us in our Essential nature and always has been. In 
fact, at Level 1, we actually achieve our Basic Desire. Once we under¬ 
stand this, our most burning question becomes how we can sustain this 
more open, vibrant state—or really, how we can allow it to be sustained 
in us. How can we continue to open ourselves to the action of grace? 


The Directions of Integration and Disintegration help us recognize 
whether we are progressing or regressing in our development. 
Integration gives us objective markers of our growth. Disintegration 
shows us how we act out under stress, what our unconscious motiva¬ 
tions and behaviors are, and, paradoxically, what qualities we most 
need to integrate. 


THE DIRECTIONS 
OF INTEGRATION 
AND 

DISINTEGRATION 


If you look at the Enneagram, you will notice that each number 
around the circle has two inner lines attached to it. For example, the 
Eight has one line to Two and another to Five. The Nine has one line 
to Three and another to Six, and so forth for all the types. 

One line represents the Direction of Integration, or the line of nat¬ 
ural development toward wholeness for each type, while the other line 
represents the type’s Direction of Disintegration, which shows what be¬ 
haviors we manifest when we have pushed the behaviors of our type to 
the limit. The movements in both directions are naturally occurring 
processes because the Enneagram predicts what each type will be like as 
it becomes healthier (less constricted and fixated) or, conversely, as it 
becomes more identified, tense, and ultimately dysfunctional. (The 
movements in the Directions of Integration and Disintegration are dis¬ 
tinct from, though related to, the movement up and down the Levels. 
We will have more to say on this later.) 

Strictly speaking, we cannot say that one Direction is necessarily 
“all good” and the other is necessarily “all bad.” Human nature has de¬ 
veloped coping mechanisms in both Directions, and the Enneagram is 



8 8 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 



THE DIRECTION OF 
DISINTEGRATION 


able to track the shifts of these subtle mechanisms as no other system 
can. Understanding these movements and recognizing them in our 
daily lives can be extremely helpful in accelerating our development. 

The arrows on the following Enneagram indicate the Directions of 
Disintegration for each type. For example, Type Eight represents the 
Two’s Direction of Disintegration. 

The arrows for the Direction of Integration move in the reverse 
order, so that the Direction of Integration for Type Eight is toward 
Two, and so forth, for all the types. 

If the types are rightly defined, the Enneagram can predict future 
behavior. It tells us what each type is going to become like if it contin¬ 
ues to deteriorate in its pattern of identifications, defenses, and self- 
defeating behaviors. It also predicts what healthy qualities will emerge 
as a person becomes less identified with the patterns, structures, and 
defenses of their type. 


The Basic Direction of 
Type Disintegration 

Level I X -» X 

Healthy Level 2 X —♦ X Healthy 
Level 3 X - X 


Level 4 X -* X 

Average Level 5 X -* X Average 
Level 6 X - X 


Level 7X-*X 

Unhealthy Level 8 X —* X Unhealthy 
Level 9 X -* X 


THE DIRECTION OF 
DISINTEGRATION 


THE DIRECTION OF DISINTEGRATION 

The Direction of Disintegration usually manifests when we are in 
a period of increased stress or uncertainty. When we have pushed the 
strategy of our own type as far as it can go (without deteriorating to a 
lower Level entirely), and it is not improving our situation or getting 
us what we want, we will unconsciously start to behave like the type in 
our Direction of Disintegration. In psychological terms, this is called 
acting out, because these attitudes and behaviors tend to be uncon¬ 
scious and compulsive, although they are not necessarily immediately 
destructive. 

We almost always will see ourselves (or someone else) act out at more 
or less the same Level that we are functioning at within our basic type. This 
helps to explain all sorts of puzzling “reversals” of behavior that we see in 
people. Furthermore, this also explains why we do not suddenly jump 
from the average behavior of our own type into pathological behavior in 
our Direction of Disintegration, and why we do not have to be in the un¬ 
healthy range of our type to go in the Direction of Disintegration. 

Twos, for example, believe that they must always be kind and lov¬ 
ing and that they need to take care of the needs of others rather than 
their own. But actually Twos also want their needs to be taken care of, 
and they hope that if they shower enough love on others, someone will 
reciprocate their generosity. If they keep giving endlessly, and no one 
seems to be responding to them—or not responding in ways that Twos 
recognize as loving—they will become more angry and more forceful 
about getting their own needs met. This is the meaning of the Twos’ 
movement to Eight: they begin to act out their repressed anger aggres- 


DYNAMICS 


AND 


VARIATIONS 


8 9 


THE DIRECTION OF DISINTEGRATION 
(WITH REVERSAL) 

1 

Methodical Ones suddenly become moody and irrational 
at Four. 

2 

Needy Twos suddenly become aggressive and dominating 
at Eight. 

3 

Driven Threes suddenly become disengaged and 
apathetic at Nine. 

4 

Aloof Fours suddenly become overinvolved and clinging 
at Two. 

5 

Detached Fives suddenly become hyperactive and 
scattered at Seven. 

6 

Dutiful Sixes suddenly become competitive and arrogant 
at Three. 

7 

Scattered Sevens suddenly become perfectionistic and 
critical at One. 

8 

Self-confident Eights suddenly become secretive and • 
fearful at Five. 

9 

Complacent Nines suddenly become anxious and 
worried at Six. 


sively and impulsively. Instead of continuing to suppress their needi¬ 
ness and flattering others, they become direct and assertive. The more 
Twos deny their anger and their needs, the more explosive and de¬ 
structive their acting out will be. 

The following principle operates in all of the types: whatever is re¬ 
pressed by a type is acted out tinder pressure in ways indicated by the type’s 
Direction of Disintegration. The following chart will hint at this process; 
the individual type chapters will describe it in more detail. 

It is important to understand that, from a certain perspective, the 
movement in the Direction of Disintegration is just another survival 
mechanism. Nature has equipped us with a number of useful “escape 




THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


9 0 


ACTING OUT 


What is the difference between feeling an emotion and acting it out? If we feel angry, we can act it out 
by throwing a tantrum or we can resist the tendency and sit quietly with whatever we feel, noting the sen¬ 
sations that anger causes in our bodies.When we do this, we have the opportunity to see on a deeper level 
what our feelings are about. This does not mean that we are suppressing our feelings. On the contrary, it 
means that we will actually feel them instead of letting them lead us into compulsive behavior. 

As an Inner Work task, when you next catch yourself acting out in your Direction of Disintegration, try 
to stop yourself from continuing to do so, even if you have already begun it. Stop in the middle of a sen¬ 
tence, if necessary, and sense your body. Check in with yourself to see how not acting out feels, and where 
the energy is in your body. See what happens to the energy as you experience it directly rather than dis¬ 
charging it. How long can you do so? Notice any “stories” you may be telling yourself about the situation. 
What happens if you continue to act out? Observe yourself without judging yourself, either for your suc¬ 
cess or for your failure to do the task. 


hatches” for our psyches so that we cannot easily become pathological. 
The Direction of Disintegration is thus a way of allowing some pressure 
to ventilate. Acting out gives us temporary relief and slows down a po¬ 
tentially more devastating descent into the unhealthy range of our basic 
type, but of course it does not solve our problems. After we have acted 
out, we will have expended a great deal of energy and will still have to 
face the same issues. Acting out simply allows us to postpone dealing 
with our problems until a later time. When our personality is under 
stress for a long period of time, we may begin to shunt so habitually that 
we may appear to be the type in the Direction of Disintegration. For this 
reason, people who have been suffering from emotional difficulties or 
major crises in their lives will often misidentify themselves as the type in 
their Direction of Disintegration rather than their basic type. 

For instance. Ones under great stress for long periods may mistake 
themselves for Fours because they will chronically act out many aver¬ 
age to unhealthy Four characteristics. Similarly, Nines under extreme 
stress may appear more like average Sixes. Furthermore, this process ac¬ 
celerates as we go down the Levels, peaking in intensity in the lower av¬ 
erage to unhealthy range. 

We also have observed that people who have suffered from post- 
traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or who have significant borderline 
features in their personality, tend to move in their Direction of 
Disintegration more often and more easily. Their personalities have 
more volatility and are less strongly grounded in the basic type, and 
they therefore intensely shunt to the Direction of Disintegration. 






DYNAMICS AND VARIATIONS 

THE DIRECTION OF INTEGRATION 

The Direction of Disintegration is unconscious and compulsive; it 
is the egos way of automatically compensating for imbalances in our 
psyches. Transformation in the Direction of Integration is another mat¬ 
ter, however, because moving in the Direction of Integration requires 
conscious choice. When we are on the path of integration, we are say¬ 
ing to ourselves, “I want to show up in my life more fully. I want to let 
go of my old stories and habits. I am willing to be with the truth of 
whatever 1 learn about myself. No matter what 1 feel, and no matter 
what I find, I want to be free and really alive.” 

Thus, the Direction of Integration starts to be felt around Level 4, 
but it becomes more accessible at Level 3 and above. 

When we start to let go of our personality’s baggage, there will be 
growth and development in a certain “direction”—a healing of our core 
issues symbolized by the type in the Direction of Integration. The very 
qualities we need for our growth become more accessible to us, and the 
more we avail ourselves of them, the more they speed the progress of 
liberating ourselves from the limiting patterns of our personality. For 
example, when Eights start letting go of their issues around self¬ 
protection, armoring, and not letting down their guard, they automat¬ 
ically start getting in touch with their vulnerability and hurt. They 
begin to understand why they put on their armor in the first place. The 
more free of these defenses they become, the more they realize how 
good it feels to care about people, like healthy Twos. Eights know that 
they are on the right track when they start noticing that they really 
enjoy being connected with people and wanting to do good things for 
them. 

As we learn to become more present, the positive qualities of the 
type in our Direction of Integration naturally begin to arise. When this 
happens, the limitations of the average range of our own type become 
painfully apparent. This gives us more incentive to stay with our prac¬ 
tice and to recognize when we are slipping into the automatic compul¬ 
sions of our type. Thus, we could say that the Direction of Integration 
represents the antidote to the fixated states of our type. 

The Security Point 

There are specific restricted circumstances in which we can exhibit 
behaviors from the average Levels of the type in our Direction, of 
Integration. As a rule of thumb, we tend to act out the average behav¬ 
iors in the Direction of Integration when we feel sure of where we stand 
in a situation. When we feel secure in the strength of our relationship 
with another person, we may try out behaviors that would be too risky 


9 I 


9 



THE DIRECTION OF 
INTEGRATION 


THE 


WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


9 2 


THE DIRECTION OF INTEGRATION 

1 

Angry, critical Ones become more spontaneous and joyful, 
like healthy Sevens. 

2 

Prideful, self-deceptive Twos become more self-nurturing 
and emotionally aware, like healthy Fours. 

3 

Vain, deceitful Threes become more cooperative and 
committed to others, like healthy Sixes. 

4 

Envious, emotionally turbulent Fours become more 
objective and principled, like healthy Ones. 

5 

Avaricious, detached Fives become more self-confident 
and decisive, like healthy Eights. 

6 

Fearful, pessimistic Sixes become more relaxed and 
optimistic, like healthy Nines. 

7 

Gluttonous, scattered Sevens become more focused and 
profound, like healthy Fives. 

8 

Lustful, controlling Eights become more open-hearted 
and caring, like healthy Twos. 

9 

Slothful, self-neglecting Nines become more self- 
developing and energetic, like healthy Threes. 


with someone we did not know as well. For this reason, we call this 
phenomenon the security point. 

For example, average Ones will sometimes behave like average 
Sevens, but not as often as they tend to act out the average to un¬ 
healthy issues of Type Four. Ones are not going to act like average 
Sevens unless they feel safe and secure to do so. Similarly, Fives may 
frequently act out average Seven behaviors, letting their minds go into 
overdrive and becoming scattered. But in more secure circumstances, 
Fives can also act like average Eights, forcefully asserting themselves 
and their wills, if they are very sure of their relationship with the other 
person. 

The security point is thus not the same as moving in the Direction 




DYNAMICS 


AND 


VARIATIONS 


9 3 


of Integration: it is another escape valve, like the Direction of “Awareness is curative.” 

Disintegration; it is another way of acting out, although one that re- Surya Das 

quires special conditions. Persons functioning in the average to un¬ 
healthy Levels of their basic type may know that they need the qualities 
of the Direction of Integration, but when they are reacting compul¬ 
sively and automatically, they are not capable of really integrating the 
healthier aspects of that type. Movement to the security point is not a 
real integrative process but an instance of one part of the personality 
being replaced or supplemented by another. This is not the same as be¬ 
coming more free and aware. The movement toward the security point 
for each type is, by definition, within the average Levels. 

The Real Meaning of Integration 

Although the movement in the Direction of Integration requires 
conscious choice, it is not accomplished by imitating the attitudes and 
behaviors of the type in that direction, especially not the average char¬ 
acteristics. For instance, if you are an Eight, it does not mean that you 
should start “acting like a Two,” baking cookies or opening doors for 
people. Imitating the behavior of the type in your Direction of 
Integration can actually make the personality “denser” since real trans¬ 
formation involves letting go of ego patterns and defenses, not adding 
new ones. This kind of behavior is doomed to failure. 

We must always remember that the personality cannot solve the prob¬ 
lems of the personality, and until our Essence is deeply felt and is guiding 
our activities, the personality can do little except to “not do” its old tricks. 

The process of integration is not about what we “should” do—it is 
a process of consciously letting go of aspects of our type that block us. 

When we stop holding on to defenses, attitudes, and fears, we experi¬ 
ence an organic unfolding and balancing as natural as the blossoming 
of a flower. A tree does not have to do anything to go from a bud to a 
flower to a fruit: it is an organic, natural process, and the soul wants to 
unfold in the same way. The Enneagram describes this organic process 
in each type. The type in the Direction of Integration gives us clues 
about when this is taking place and helps us understand and activate 
this process more easily. 

Moving in the Direction of Integration deeply enriches the quality 
of all of our activities because the type in our Direction of Integration 
guides us to what really fulfills us and helps us realize the full potentials 
of our basic type. For instance, a Four who wants to express herself 
through music will be self-disciplined and will engage in regular prac- '' 
tice like a healthy One, because this will help actualize her potential. 

“Going to One” is a Four’s way of being the most effective Four that he 
or she can possibly be. 



9 4 T 

“There are only two ways to 
live your life. One is as though 
nothing is a miracle. The other is 
as though everything is a miracle.” 

Albert Einstein 


E WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

When we fully see, understand, and experience all the self- 
defeating blockages that have covered our Essential qualities, they fall 
away like dead leaves from a growing plant, and the fullness of our soul 
emerges naturally. Our soul, with all of the magnificent gifts that we 
see in the healthy range, is already here. Only our deeply ingrained be¬ 
lief in and attachment to the defenses of our personality—the resis¬ 
tance, self-image, and fear-based strategies of our type—prevent us 
from showing up and claiming our birthright. 



PART II 


The 

Nine Personality 
Types 




CHAPTER 7 


TYPE ONE: 

THE 

REFORMER 

▲ 


“/ have learned through bitter experience the one supreme lesson: to conserve 
my anger ; and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy ; even so our anger 
controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world. ” 

—Mohandas K. Gandhi 

“The unawakened mind tends to make war against the way things are. ” 

—Jack Kornfield 

“We shall never have friends, if we expect to find them without fault. ” 

-“-Thomas Fuller 

“The real advantage which truth has, consists in this, that when an opin¬ 
ion is true, it may be extinguished once, twice, or many times, but in the 
course of ages there will generally be found persons to rediscover it. ” 

—John Stuart Mill 


THE TEACHER 


THE ACTIVIST 


THE CRUSADER 


THE MORALIST 


THE PERFECTIONIST 


THE ORGANIZER 




Score each of the follow¬ 
ing statements according 
to how true or applicable 
to you it is on the follow¬ 
ing scale: 

1 . Not at All True 

2 . Seldom True 

3 . Somewhat True 

4 . Generally True 

5 . Very True 


See page 124 for 
scoring key. 


_ 1. Most people see me as a serious, no-nonsense person—and 
when all is said and done, 1 suppose I am. 

_ 2.1 have always tried to be honest and objective about myself—and 
I’m determined to follow my conscience no matter what the cost. 

_ 3. While there is some part of me that can be wild, generally speak¬ 
ing that just hasn’t been my style. 

_ 4. It seems that I am living with a judge inside my head: sometimes 
the judge is wise and discerning, but often it is simply stern and 
harsh. 

_ 5.1 feel that 1 have paid a great price for trying to be perfect. 

_ 6.1 like to laugh as much as anyone—I should do it more often! 

_ 7. My principles and ideals inspire me toward greater achievement 
and make my life feel meaningful and worthwhile. 

_ 8.1 do not understand why so many people have such lax standards. 

. 9. So much depends on me getting things done that I have to be 
more organized and methodical than others. 

.10.1 have a personal sense of mission, maybe even a calling to some¬ 
thing higher, and 1 believe that there is something extraordinary 
that I may accomplish during my life. 

.11.1 hate mistakes, and so I tend to be extremely thorough to make 
sure that things are being done properly. 

.12. Much of my life 1 have believed that right is right and wrong is 
wrong—and that’s all there is to it. 

.13.1 have a hard time leaving well enough alone. 

.14. Many responsibilities have fallen on my shoulders: if 1 hadn’t risen 
to the occasion, God only knows what would have happened. 

.15. I am deeply moved by human nobility and grace under pressure. 









TYPE 


ONE: THE 


REFORMER 


9 9 


PERSONALITY TYPE ONE: THE REFORMER 


The Rational, Idealistic Type: 

Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic 

We have named personality type £)ne the Reformer because Ones 
have a sense of mission that leads them to want to improve the world 
in various ways, using whatever degree of influence they have. They 
strive to overcome adversity—particularly moral adversity—so that the 
human spirit can shine through and make a difference. They strive after 
higher values, even at the cost of great personal sacrifice. 

History is full of Ones who have left comfortable lives to do some¬ 
thing extraordinary because they felt that something higher was calling 
them. During the Second World War, Raoul Wallenberg left a com¬ 
fortable middle-class life to work for the protection of thousands of 
European Jews from invading Nazis. In India, Gandhi left behind his 
wife and family and life as a successful lawyer to become an itinerant 
advocate of Indian independence and nonviolent social changes. Joan 
of Arc left her village in France to restore the throne to the dauphin and 
to expel the English from the country. The idealism of each of these 
Ones has inspired millions. 

Ones are people of practical action—they wish to be useful in the 
best sense of the word. On some level of consciousness, they feel that 
they “have a mission” to fulfill in life, if only to try their best to reduce 
the disorder they see in their environment. 

Although Ones have a strong sense of purpose, they also typically 
feel that they have to justify their actions to themselves and often to 
others as well. This orientation causes Ones to spend a lot of time 
thinking about the consequences of their actions, as well as about how 
to keep from acting contrary to their convictions. Because of this, Ones 
often persuade themselves that they are “head” types, rationalists who 
proceed only on logic and objective truth. But the real picture is some¬ 
what different: Ones are actually activists who are searching for an ac¬ 
ceptable rationale for what they feel they must do. They are people of 
instinct and passion who use convictions and judgments to control and 
direct themselves and their actions. 

In the effort to stay true to their principles, Ones resist being af¬ 
fected by their instinctual drives, consciously not giving in to them or 
expressing them too freely. The result is a personality type that has 
problems with repression, resistance, and aggression. They are usually 
seen by others as highly self-controlled, even rigid, although this is not 


► BASIC FEAR: Of being 
“bad,” defective, evil, 
corrupt 

► BASIC DESIRE: To be 
good, virtuous, in bal¬ 
ance—to have integrity 

► SUPEREGO MESSAGE: 
“You are good or okay if 
you do what is right.” 


"I have a mission in life. ” 



I 0 0 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


how Ones experience themselves. It seems to them that they are sitting 
on a cauldron of passions and desires and that they had better “keep the 
lid on” lest they and everyone else around them regret it. 

Cassandra, a therapist in private practice, recalls the difficulty this 
caused her in her youth. 

I remember in high school getting feedback that I had no feelings. 
Inside, I felt my feelings intensely and yet I just couldn’t let them out 
as intensely as I felt them. Even now, if I have a conflict with a friend 
and need to address an issue, I rehearse ahead of time how to ex¬ 
press clearly what I want, need, and observe, and yet not be harsh or 
blaming in my anger, which is often scathing. 

Ones believe that being strict with themselves (and eventually be¬ 
coming “perfect”) will justify themselves in their own eyes and in the 
eyes of others. But by attempting to create their own brand of perfec¬ 
tion, they often create their own personal hell. Instead of agreeing with 
the statement in Genesis that God saw what He had created “and it was 
good,” Ones intensely feel, “It wasn’t—there obviously have been some 
mistakes here!” This orientation makes it difficult for them to trust 
their inner guidance—indeed, to trust life—so Ones come to rely heav¬ 
ily on their superego, a learned voice from their childhood, to guide 
them toward the greater good that they so passionately seek. When 
Ones have gotten completely entranced in their personality, there is lit¬ 
tle distinction between them and this severe, unforgiving voice. 
Separating from it and seeing its genuine strengths and limitations is 
what growth for Ones is about. 


Please note that the child¬ 
hood pattern we are de¬ 
scribing here does not 
cause the personality type. 
Rather, it describes ten¬ 
dencies that tue observe in 
early childhood that have 
a major impact on the 
types adult relationships. 


THE CHILDHOOD PATTERN 

Ones tried hard to be good kids: they often report feeling that, as 
children, they needed to justify their existence. Simply being a child 
was somehow not acceptable, and many young Ones developed a sense 
of seriousness and adult responsibility at an early age. They understood 
that their parents expected a lot from them, and like Threes, they often 
played the role of the Family Hero. Young Ones generally take on such 
expectations with great earnestness. 

Jeanne, a spiritual director for women religious in Quebec, still re¬ 
members the pressure she felt to uphold her family’s values. 

When I had frequent and serious nosebleeds, Dad would tell me I 
mustn’t be praying enough. Knowing what was "enough” always 
eluded me, but I suspected that more had to be better.... Dad ex- 




TYPE 


ONE: THE 


REFORMER 


I 0 I 


pected me to pray and intercede for him and the whole family. 
Needless to say. I made time to be at daily Mass. I had a serious mis¬ 
sion for which to intercede; the family’s well-being could be at stake. 

For various reasons, Ones experience a sense of being “discon¬ 
nected” from their protective-figure (who is usually, although not al¬ 
ways, the biological father). Having another stable adult figure that 
the child can identify with and move toward gives the child the abil¬ 
ity to separate from dependency on the mother and to increasingly 
sense his or her own individuality and autonomy. If, however, the pro¬ 
tective-figure is not adequately fulfilling his role, young Ones sense a 
fundamental disconnection. They realize that their real or symbolic fa¬ 
ther does not adequately fit their temperament and needs. This does 
not necessarily mean that the protective-figure is bad or abusive, but 
that, for whatever reason, a certain effortless bonding simply does not 
take place. 

The result is a feeling of frustration for the child and the sense that 
he must “father” himself. In some cases, young Ones respond to chaotic 
conditions around them by becoming hyperresponsible, the “voice of 
reason” in their families. In this way they are able to establish some 
sense of autonomy and boundaries—the key issues of their type. 

Justine is a business consultant who was forced by her painful 
childhood to develop a vigilant and strict set of ego defenses. 

Since there was a lot of conflict in the family I grew up in, I felt I had 
to stop it or fix it in some way.That probably contributed to my very 
controlling nature. I had poor boundaries as the result of an imposing, 
aggressive mother, so I identified strongly with her less-than-healthy 
behaviors to protect myself. I grew up very critical, judgmental, and 
opinionated. I treated my younger sisters as she treated us, and was 
very bossy and demanding. 

In effect, the child says, “I will give myself guidelines. I will become 
my own father-figure and be my own moral guide. I will police myself 
so no one else will police me; I will punish myself so no one else will 
punish me." Ones try to surpass what is expected of them by adhering 
to the rules so rigorously that no one will be able to catch them in error, 
thus earning independence. 

Leo, a successful business consultant, recalls the difficult demands 
of his childhood adaptations. 

As a child I learned quickly that there was only one right way of doing 
things and only one—my father’s way. His way would sometimes 
change—he was inconsistent. But his way was always the ‘‘right’’ 



OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


102 THE WISDOM 

way.... So, in reaction to my father’s inconsistencies, I developed a 
conscience that launched me into a quest for the "true” right way that 
I myself could subscribe to. 

In a sense, Ones feel that they need to outdo the expectations of their 
protective-figure. They feel that they must come up with a better set of 
rules for themselves; they decide right or wrong. But in so doing, the child 
feels guilty for judging (and implicitly condemning) its own protective- 
figure. To escape the guilt of this situation, young Ones construct an 
identity that allows them to see themselves as good and responsible and 
others as lazy, sloppy, or at least less correct and “mature” than themselves. 
Such self-justification becomes the bedrock of the One’s identity and the 
emotional pattern that will be reenacted throughout their lives. 


THE WING 
SUBTYPES 


Examples 

Plato 

Gandhi 

Sandra Day O’Connor 
George Harrison 
Henry David Thoreau 
Martha Stewart 
Katharine Hepburn 
Al Gore 
George F. Will 
Noam Chomsky 


THE ONE WITH A NINE-WING: THE IDEALIST 

Healthy People of this subtype are highly discerning, wise, and 
civilized. They can be scholarly and erudite, maintaining a dispassion¬ 
ate philosophical stance that focuses on long-range concerns—the 
“big” picture. They can have an introverted, reclusive quality about 
them, seeking relief from “the maddenihg crowd,” often in quiet, nat¬ 
ural settings. They are emotionally reserved but generous, kind, and 
considerate, generally loving nature, aninials, and innocence wherever 
they find it. They wish to improve tiling^ but with a gentler, more de¬ 
tached touch than other Ones. 

Average Idealistic and less likely to engage in the politics and “dirty 
work” necessary to bring about the reforms they believe in, average people 
of this subtype would rather explain their ideals than personally persuade 
others of their correctness. The anger seen in Ones is harder to detect in 
this subtype than in the other, tending to express itself in stiffness, impa¬ 
tience, and sarcasm. People of this subtype prefer to be alone and look for 
situations where they can work by themselves in order to avoid dealing 
with the disappointing messiness of human relationships. They can be 
more remote, otherworldly, and impersonal than the other subtype, po¬ 
tentially disdainful, elitist, and condescending to their fellow humans. 


THE ONE WITH A TWO-WING: THE ADVOCATE 

Healthy People of this subtype blend their quest for ideals and 
higher principles with empathy and compassion for others. Less purely 
idealistic than the other subtype, they are genuinely interested in im¬ 
proving the lot of mankind and more willing to get into the trenches 
to bring about the changes they advocate. They are also more overtly 



TYPE ONE: THE REFORMER 

passionate and interpersonal, enjoying the give-and-take of “political” 
involvement. People of this subtype are persuasive and go out of their 
way to get others to care about the causes and beliefs they espouse. 

Average Highly active and outgoing, average people of this sub- 
type can be fairly aggressive and forceful in the pursuit of the ideals and 
reforms they seek. While they are comfortable being alone and need a 
good deal of “down time” to recharge and think, they are also energized 
by engaging with others, particularly debating and refining their, ideas. 
This makes them naturally good at politics on whatever scale they engage 
in it. The needs of others are the focus for their altruism, so long as they 
feel they are making a difference. They can become critical and irritable 
and highly vocal about their discontents when they are frustrated. They 
are also more fiery and action-oriented than the other subtype, and so 
the possibility of being frustrated by people and events is higher. 


i o 3 


Examples 

Jerry Brown 
Hillary Clinton 
Celine Dion 
John Bradshaw 
Emma Thompson 
Jane Fonda 
Joan Baez 
Vanessa Redgrave 
Ralph Nader 
John Paul II 


THE SELF-PRESERVATION INSTINCT IN THE ONE 

Self-Control. In the average range, Self-Preservation Ones tend 
to worry about their material well-being, both in terms of finances and 
health, and they often castigate themselves for not working hard 
enough (like average Sixes). The Self-Preservation instinct also gives 
them strong drives for gratification, but their Type One superego can 
be severe in countering those drives. The resulting inner conflict is the 
source of continual stress, physical tension, and an all-or-nothing atti¬ 
tude with regard to their pleasures and desires. They may either indulge 
themselves and their desires, or go through periods of asceticism, dur¬ 
ing which their desires are suppressed as much as possible. 

As they become more identified with their superego dictates, they 
become very fearful about making mistakes that seem like catastrophes 
to them. They feel that any wrong action could result in the undoing of 
their well-being. They can be quite picky and fastidious about their en¬ 
vironment. (Picture Felix Unger in The Odd Couple.) They value cleanli¬ 
ness, order, hygiene, and aesthetics, and they are often preoccupied with 
health and diet, religiously subscribing to beliefs about vitamins, macro¬ 
biotics, homeopathic remedies, and so forth. With others, they tend to 
be overprotective about the things that they worry about in themselves. 
If they are worried about getting sick, they scold others about not taking 
care of their health. If they have money concerns, they exhort others to 
save. In the lower Levels, the harshness of their superego causes them to 
feel undeserving of any kind of comfort or reward. 

In the unhealthy range, Self-Preservation Ones begin to oscillate be¬ 
tween periods of strict restraint of their appetites and periods of excess and 
debauch. They often become obsessed with health matters, especially 


THE 

INSTINCTUAL 

VARIANTS 



1 0 4 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


with regard to food. They often attempt to justify or undo their violations 
of their own dietary or health requirements. They may binge on sweets, or 
drink excessively, then go on a crash diet. Milkshakes and fries are fol¬ 
lowed by handfuls of vitamins. Self-Preservation Ones are prone to eating 
disorders and extreme practices to curb their instinctual impulses, includ¬ 
ing asceticism, excessive fasting, bingeing and purging, and so forth. 


THE SOCIAL INSTINCT IN THE ONE 

The Crusader. In the average range, Social Ones believe that 
they represent objective values, social standards, and that they speak for 
others. Teaching, advocating, and moralizing can be part of the picture, 
but mostly about social issues and about rules and procedures. They are 
often interested in politics, current affairs, and journalism and are 
adept at uncovering the “dirt,” exposing wrongdoing and speaking out 
against injustices. On the other hand, they will work patiently to bring 
about the reforms they see as necessary—improving the local schools, 
getting their co-op involved with recycling, and so forth. 

Social Ones derive a vivid sense of themselves by holding strong opin¬ 
ions and convictions and arguing for their perspective. They value these qual¬ 
ities in others as well, although when more fixated, they expect others always 
to agree with them. This can lead to rigidity both in their thinking and in 
their behavior. Their views can become a boundary, an armor against die 
world. And since Ones apply the rules most rigorously to themselves, they 
fear ever being caught contradicting their own stated beliefs and opinions. 

Although Social Ones insist that others should not take their criti¬ 
cisms and views personally, they take things personally, often reacting to 
public policies as if they were personal affronts or triumphs. 

In the unhealthy range, Social Ones hold unrealistic standards and 
expectations for themselves, others, and society at large. They may be¬ 
come involved in extreme political views or strict religious dogmas (lib¬ 
ertarianism is the only solution to the country’s ills; no sexual activity 
in marriage unless it can lead directly to conception). In the lower 
Levels, they can engage in rants and tirades, constantly feeling outrage 
at the imperfections of humanity. 


THE SEXUAL INSTINCT IN THE ONE 

Shared Standards. . In the average range, Sexual Ones want a flaw¬ 
less relationship with an idealized partner. They long for the perfect 
mate, an unwavering source of stability in their lives. In this respect, they 
can be mistaken for Fours. They have high expectations of their partner, 



TYPE 


ONE: THE 


REFORMER 


I 0 S 


their family, and their close friends and want to believe that the other 
person in the relationship holds the same standards. (“We share these 
ideals, don’t we?”) Sexual Ones fear that the other will fall short, thus de¬ 
stroying the harmony and perfection of the relationship. This can lead to 
feeling that they must push loved ones to meet their standards. They also 
may have trouble finding someone who meets their standards, trying one 
relationship after another but always feeling disappointed. 

Sexual Ones place a great emphasis on fidelity. (“Love is forever.”) 
Although they do not appear needy, they often suffer from well-hidden 
fears of abandonment and a chronic sense of loneliness. The mix of 
high expectations with abandonment issues can result in a critical, con¬ 
trolling attitude toward the partner. (“Don’t ever let me down. Don’t 
ever deceive me.”) At lower Levels, they may constantly need to “check 
in” on the other’s activities and whereabouts. Sexual Ones feel that they 
have earned a good relationship, earned their pleasure, and feel threat¬ 
ened at the possible loss of one of their few areas of reward. Criticism 
and control may be used to keep the other off balance, to undermine 
confidence, thus postponing potential abandonment. 

In the unhealthy range, the Sexual variant endows them with 
strong desires and appetites, but this is difficult to justify to the One’s 
superego. Sexual Ones may experience intense desire alternating with a 
need to reject that desire. This may lead to both sexual compulsivity 
and repression. (“I don’t want to be attracted to him.”) At the same 
time, they may believe that the other is the source of their obsessions 
and want to control the other so that the balance of the relationship 
can be restored. Less healthy Sexual Ones are prey to bouts of intense 
jealousy. Their fears are such that they constantly question and grill the 
other. In extreme cases, they may punish the self or others to purge 
themselves of their desires. 


The following are issues most Ones will encounter at some 
point in their lives. Noticing these patterns, “catching ourselves in 
the act,” and simply seeing our underlying habitual responses to 
life will do much to release us from the negative aspects of our type. 


THE ONE’S 
CHALLENGES TO 
GROWTH 

▲ 


THE WAKE-UP CALL FOR TYPE ONE: 

A SENSE OF INTENSE PERSONAL OBLIGATION 

Ones can grow tremendously simply by recognizing and being 
aware of their particular Wake-up Call, a heavy and constant sense of 
personal obligation. They begin to think that it is up to them to fix 
whatever mess they encounter. (“If I do not do this, no one else will!”) 
Further, they are convinced that even if others are willing to tackle 




Level 

Key Terms: 

Accepting 

Ones let go of the belief that they are in a position to judge anything ob¬ 
jectively and are able to approach life without emotionally reacting to it. 

H 

They also paradoxically achieve their Basic Desire — to have integrity and 


1 

Wise 

to be good. As a result of their self-actualization, they become wise, dis- 

E 



cerning, accepting, hopeful, and often noble. 

A 



Ones focus on the dictates of their superegos to guide them in life and de- 

L 

Level 

Evaluating 

fend them from the “disordered” parts of themselves. Self-image: “I am 

T 

2 

Reasonable 

sensible, moderate, and objective.” 




Ones reinforce their self-image by trying to live their lives in accordance 

H 

Level 

3 

Principled 

Responsible 

with their consciences and with reason. They are highly ethical and self- 

Y 

disciplined and possess a strong sense of purpose and conviction. Truthful 
and articulate, they teach by example, putting aside personal desires for the 
greater good. 







Ones begin to fear that others are indifferent to their principles, so they 


Level 

Obligated 

want to convince others of the rightness of their viewpoint. They become 

A 

4 

Striving 

serious and driven, debating others and remedying problems, while evalu- 

V 



ating their world and pointing out what is wrong with things. 

E 


Self- 

Ones worry that others will condemn them for any deviation from their 


Level 

Controlled 

ideals. Having argued their point of view, Ones are now obliged to live up 

R 

5 

Orderly 

to it at all times, so they try to rigorously organize themselves and their 

A 


world. They are punctual and methodical but also irritable and tense. 

c 



Ones are afraid that others will mess up the order and balance that they 

VJ 

Level 

Judgmental 

have achieved and they are angry that others do not take their ideals as se- 

E 

6 

■ 

Critical 

riously. They react by reproaching and correcting others for not living up 
to their own standards. They are perfectionistic, opinionated, and sarcastic. 



Self- 

Righteous 

Inflexible 

Ones fear that their ideals may actually be wrong, which may be true. To 

u 

Level 

save their self-image, they attempt to justify themselves and silence criti- 

N 

7 

cism. They are closed-minded and allow no compromises or negotiations 
in their positions. They are bitter, misanthropic, and highly self-righteous. 

H 

■ 


Ones are so desperate to defend themselves from their irrational desires 

E 

Level 

Obsessive 

and impulses that they become obsessed with the very parts of themselves 


8 

Contradictory 

they want to control. They begin to act out all of their repressed desires 

A 



while publicly continuing to condemn them. They cannot stop themselves. 

L 



The realization that they have lost control of themselves and are doing the 

T 

Level 

o 

Condemnatory 

Punitive 

very things they cannot tolerate in others is too much for unhealthy Ones. 
They try to rid themselves of the apparent cause of their obsessions in 

H 


themselves, others, or the environment, possibly resulting in self-mutila- 

Y 



don, murder, or suicide. 














TYPE 


ONE: THE 


REFORMER 


I 0 7 


problems, they are not going to do as thorough a job as Ones them¬ 
selves would. They therefore become increasingly fixated on correcting 
and organizing and controlling their environment. They also become 
tense and serious, automatically focusing on what is wrong with things. 

When they start to feel as if the weight of the world is on their 
shoulders, it is a strong indication that average Ones are slipping into 
their characteristic trance. 

Cassandra, the therapist we met earlier, reveals how difficult it has 
been for her to let go of this tendency in herself. 

Being a One is to feel burdened much of the time—burdened with 
the need to do the right thing in every situation, to monitor one’s 
thoughts and feelings so they do not show or, if they do, to express 
them both appropriately and in the “right” amount. I still struggle 
with feeling resentful when people won’t listen to me or, worse yet, 
when they come to the same conclusions as me after having made 
horrendous mistakes that are damaging to themselves and others. I 
still haven't found a balance in this area. 


LONELY RESPONSIBILITY 


Average Ones feel obligated not only to “do the right thing" but to make up for the carelessness and 
foolishness of others. Do you notice this pattern in yourself? What situations, specifically, are likely to bring 
this up? When this occurs, what opinions are you holding about others? How does this make you feel to¬ 
ward them? Toward yourself? 


The Social Role: The Educator 

In the average range, Ones begin to define themselves in the Social “/ know how things 

Role of the Educator or the Teacher, the person whose place it is to in- should be done. ” 

still wisdom in the ignorant, uplift the fallen, and show others how to 
do something useful and productive with their lives. They feel com¬ 
pelled to instruct others on the best way to accomplish things, even 
something as simple as washing dishes or refolding a newspaper after 
reading it.* 

Unconsciously, average Ones see themselves as mature, responsible 
adults surrounded by irrational, careless children, and this attitude is 


* Fives also “teach" by focusing on their expertise. However, Ones are people of 
action, whereas cerebral Fives are generally less interested in the practical applica¬ 
tion of their ideas. 


W -'' 1 . VC 






I 0 8 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


often communicated to others in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. This 
patronizing stance usually makes others resist the One’s help and 
views—even if others might agree with them in principle. Such resis¬ 
tance often frustrates Ones even more. 

The role of Teacher can also cause Ones to become impatient with 
the responses of others. Ones may recognize that others are making ef¬ 
forts, but they question whether those efforts are sufficient. They are ir¬ 
ritated that people are wasting valuable time by questioning their way 
of doing things. Ones feel that they must work overtime to make up 
for others’ sloppiness or laziness, and so they often fail to take adequate 
care of themselves. Their irritation and impatience, however, make it 
extremely difficult for average Ones to communicate their suggestions 
to others in a nonthreatening way. Fortunately, this very quality is a tip- 
off that a One is getting into trouble. 

Cassandra has learned to use her frustration as an indication that 
she is becoming more trapped by her personality. 

Irritability is a sure sign that I’m starting the downward slide. I’ve 
learned when I become irritable, some unmet need is present. It 
could be as simple as needing to eat, or as complex as needing to ad¬ 
dress an unrecognized conflict with a friend. I am learning not to 
“blame” myself for being irritable, but to take steps to intervene be¬ 
fore it becomes harshness or depression. 

As they become less healthy, Ones are much more easily annoyed 
by others’ different—-and to their minds, lax—standards. (“Why aren’t 
the other people in this office as organized as I am?” “It’s a simple mat¬ 
ter for the children to keep their rooms tidy.”) What average Ones do 
not seem to understand is that while their own habits and methods 
might be very effective for themselves , they may not be appropriate for 
other people. They do not seem to grasp that others might want to de¬ 
vote their time and energy to different projects and pursuits. (Not 
everyone cares if the spice rack is organized alphabetically.) 


PARENTING GROWN-UPS 


Four largely unconscious ways of communicating with others have been identified by a field of psychology 
called transactional analysis.We can communicate as adult-to-adult, as child-to-adult, as child-to-child, or as 
adult-to-child. Ones often create problems in their relationships by choosing the last of these: adult-to-child. 
Psychologists have found that this is the least effective way of communicating with others. Notice when you 
unconsciously fall into this pattern.What response does it get from others? How does it make you feel? What 
payoff are you getting for communicating to others this way? 




TYPE 


ONE: THE 


REFORMER 


I 0 9 


Anger, Resentment, and Frustration 

The anger of Ones is directed both at themselves for failing to live 
up to their ideals, and at others for what Ones see as their laziness and 
irresponsibility. As Ones become more unhealthy, they displace more 
of their anger onto others as they make themselves the sole judge of 
who and what is right and wrong. They also become more irritable 
with others because others seem to them to be getting off the hook. 
They feel that others are not taking an equal share of the responsibil¬ 
ity—and seem to be having all the fun. (“Why am I doing all the 
work and being so responsible while everyone else is out fooling 
around?”) 

Anger, in itself, is not a bad thing. It is what arises naturally when 
there is something around us that we do not like or want in our lives. 
Anger is a way of resisting an attack on our integrity, whether physical, 
moral, or spiritual. Anger, when fully experienced (and not acted out, 
repressed, or “swallowed”), is instantaneous and short-lived. When we 
allow our anger without resisting it, it usually arises like a wave and 
passes through us within a minute. When we resist anger or hang on to 
it (for other strategic reasons of our ego), it perpetuates itself in in¬ 
creasing obsessive thinking, emotional constriction, and physical ten¬ 
sion. Even when these thinking patterns have run their course, the 
anger remains stored in the body, locked in muscular tension and ha¬ 
bitual behaviors such as pacing, nail biting, and teeth grinding. Ones 
can grow enormously by learning to feel their anger without attempt¬ 
ing to suppress it or justify it. Talking openly about their anger with 
significant others can be very healing for Ones and a positive step in 
learning to process their resentments. 

Ironically, though, Ones are not always aware of their anger. They 
seldom experience anger as anger because their superego generally pro¬ 
hibits them from being “too emotional.” To be angry is to be out of 
control, to be less than perfect, so Ones often deny their anger through 
clenched teeth—‘Tm not angry! I’m just trying to get it right!” 

Striving After the Ideal 

Average Ones strive after their ideals since doing so makes them 
feel worthwhile and provides a way to suppress negative superego 
voices. But the more they want the ideal, the more frustrated they be¬ 
come by the real, and it becomes difficult for them to see the good in 
things right before their eyes, whether in a relationship, a coworker’s 
performance, or a child’s behavior. The specter of the ideal also begins 
to overshadow their own performance and the satisfaction they take in 
their own work. Everything from working at the office, to doing 


"Everyone is so lazy and 
irresponsible. ” 



I I 0 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


homework with the kids, to writing a letter becomes more burdensome 
since it must be done as perfectly as possible. 

Like all the types, Ones have an inherent contradiction at the cen¬ 
ter of their personality structure. They wish to find integrity and a sense 
of wholeness—and yet by constantly sitting in judgment, their super¬ 
ego splits them into “good” and “bad” parts. They thereby lose the in¬ 
tegrity and sense of wholeness they seek. An internal war rages between 
the various factions of themselves, between themselves and others, and 
between themselves and the world. 

Even if Ones come within range of meeting their own standards, 
the standards are raised by their active superego. (By definition, an ideal 
cannot be attained, and so the One must redefine the ideal and try 
harder.) Continually striving for perfection means being very hard on 
oneself, inevitably leading to a constant state of tension and frustration. 


DISAPPOINTMENT 


Notice how many times a day you are disappointed with yourself or others. Use your Inner Work Journal 
to keep track of this for a few days.What standards are you measuring everything against? Question and ex¬ 
amine the. nature of these standards and their effect on you and the people in your life. 


Being Purposeful and Making Progress 


“There's a sensible way of 
handling everything. ” 


The high-minded seriousness and sense of purpose of healthy Ones 
becomes more compulsive if they feel they must constantly work to jus¬ 
tify their existence. If this happens, healthy, balanced self-discipline de¬ 
teriorates into grim determination, even workaholism, and it becomes 
increasingly difficult for Ones to take a break: relaxation or play must 
be constantly earned. They feel that there is little time for frivolity or 
lightness; even vacations can take on the aura of responsibility and of 
not frittering around too much (less time at the beach, more time in 
museums!), guilt forbids “idling” (“An idle mind is the Devil’s play¬ 
ground.”), and Ones feel that they are wasting time if they are not im¬ 
proving themselves and their environment in some way. 

Anne describes some of the anxiety her “purposefulness” has caused 

her. 


I probably wouldn’t take any extended vacations if it weren’t for my 
husband. It's only when I’m away that I realize how badly I need the 
rest and change of scene. But I wouldn’t dream of going anywhere 
without at least one serious and instructive book. 





TYPE 


ONE: THE 


REFORMER 


I I I 


Because progress is so important to Ones, efficiency and working 
according to methods, systems, and timetables are as well. They are 
constantly developing and refining procedures, seeking the most effec¬ 
tive way to do things in the least amount of time. Ones are like Sixes 
in that both approach problems with protocols: flow charts, formulae, 
or rules (using Robert’s Rules of Order to conduct meetings, for exam¬ 
ple). Sixes prefer working within established parameters and often re¬ 
sent surprises or disruptions of the “system” as they have understood it. 
Ones, on the other hand, are guided by their own sense of judgment 
and may balk at agreed-upon guidelines, feeling that their own method 
would be more effective. They care less about who agrees with them or 
whether or not they had precedent and social convention on their side. 


UNATTAINABLE STANDARDS 


When you find yourself becoming frantic about some goal you have set, stop and ask yourself what is re¬ 
ally at stake. Is the level of frustration you are experiencing commensurate with the problem you are dealing 
with? Especially notice your own self-talk.What are you saying to yourself? Whom are you trying to appease? 


Being Right and Pointing Out Problems 


Ones have learned that to be loved they must be good, and to be 
good they must be right.-This behavior manifests as a continual need 
to point out errors or a better way of doing things. Average Ones feel 
compelled to debate others about any number of things, from political 
and religious views, to optimal study habits, to the most exalted exam¬ 
ples of music and art. 

Despite the fact that they may have good points to make, others 
may sense that Ones are unconsciously bolstering their egos through 
these actions—thereby justifying themselves in subtle ways. It is as if 
they were constantly demonstrating their own worthiness to their 
superegos. (“See how hard I’m working? See how I just noticed that 
problem? I was more effective than those other people, wasn’t I?”) A 
further problem is that while average Ones may make a point worth lis¬ 
tening to, they begin to express themselves in such a forceful (even 
abrasive) way that others cannot take in their message. 

Being right is another effort to get on the good side of the super¬ 
ego—to identify oneself with it, thus lessening its attacks and the suf¬ 
fering it creates. The cost of this strategy is high, however: it creates 
alienation, tension, and a profound lack of relatedness to the environ¬ 
ment, both inner and outer. A simplistic view of right and wrong is a 


“Right is right and wrong 
is wrong and there are no 
exceptions. ” 






I I 2 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


dualism that seldom results in any satisfying conclusion or lasting so¬ 
lutions to disagreements. 


BROADENING YOUR VIEW 


As an exercise, take up a position that is the opposite of your usual view and find a way to argue it con¬ 
vincingly. For instance, if you find most network television programming appalling, see if you can come up 
with a convincing thesis declaring the virtues of network television. After you can do this, you may try more 
challenging topics about which you have stronger views: morality, sexuality, religion, and so forth.At the very 
least, you will understand the other person's point of view better, leading to more compassion and toler¬ 
ance. It may be difficult at first, but you will eventually find it extremely enjoyable, and this little game can do 
much to free you from your superego. 


Order, Consistency, and Punctuality 

Some Ones are compulsively neat; others need to schedule their 
time meticulously; and still others need to monitor their health and 
diet carefully. Others care little for being neat but are extremely partic¬ 
ular about procedures in the workplace. Concern about external order 
seems to escalate in proportion to the average One’s deeper concern 
about some internal disorder they feel in themselves. 

Average Ones are particularly troubled by perceived inconsistency, 
either in themselves or others, and therefore they attempt to make all 
their behavior consistent, sensible, and justifiable! (It is as if the One 
child, by modeling a high level of consistency, were seeking to elicit the 
same from a parent.) This further cements their attachments to meth¬ 
ods and procedures that have worked in the'past—and blinds them to 
other possible solutions or viewpoints. 

Justine is quite familiar with this problem. 

I feel like I am so tense and serious. I can’t seem to lighten up! There 
is such a driving need that everything be right and in its place, 
whether it be an event, situation, conversation, or the arrangement 
of a room, trip, or workshop. I can be tough on a trainer or speaker 
if I think the information is not all there or is incomplete.The saying 
“Let go and let God” is a tough one to submit to. Everything has to 
be done right, with little regard to importance or priority. It is easy 
not to have or to lose perspective on what is important enough to 
warrant attention and what isn't. 

Ones typically feel that there is only so much time in the day, or in 
their lives, for that matter, and that they need all of it to accomplish 







TYPE 


ONE: THE 


REFORMER 


I I 3 


their “missions.” Of course, as in other areas, they may have some use¬ 
ful ideas about time management, but if Ones deteriorate, obsessions 
about punctuality can become a constant source of tension and stress. 
Ones readily berate themselves for being even slightly late for work or 
an appointment, while giving no weight to their willingness to stay 
extra hours to complete a task. 

Anne confronted her rigid punctuality during the course of group 
therapy. 

I get a headache whenever I’m late, even when I’m meeting someone 
who is never on time. In group therapy years ago, the therapist who 
basically wanted people to be on time gave me the task of coming 
ten to fifteen minutes late. He knew I couldn't do it. Every day there 
is a schedule—in my head. I’ll find myself anxiety ridden if I’m not 
running according to that schedule, until I suddenly realize that most 
of the things can be done tomorrow, or perhaps, heaven forbid, I 
could ask someone else to do them. I get really resentful when I 
think,“I have to do everything around here”—then I realize that the 
only person who is demanding that is me. 


COMPULSIVE ORGANIZING 


In your Inner Work Journal, spend fifteen minutes making a list of the areas in your life in which you de¬ 
mand and expect order and control and those in which you do not. Be honest with yourself, as there may be 
more in either group than you might expect. Do you expect order from people or things, situations at home 
or at the office? What kinds of disorder make you most annoyed? How does your annoyance show itself? 

At the end of the exercise, make a two-column list of the benefits and drawbacks of attempting to be or¬ 
derly and organized in areas you have identified. Is order and predictability more important to you than peo¬ 
ple and relationships? Some kinds of relationships? Do you unconsciously and unintentionally treat yourself 
or others impersonally, as objects or machines? 


Self-Control and Self-Restraint 

In order to be internally consistent and unaffected by the environ¬ 
ment, Ones believe that they must be scrupulously self-controlled. 
Increasingly, then, Ones must struggle not only against the resistance 
they meet in others but against the resistance they meet in themselves. 
They sense that there are parts of themselves that are not at all interested 
in their self-improvement projects. And yet failing to live up to their own 
professed standards would leave them prey to intense feelings of guilt. 


“I’ve got to get control of 
myself” 







I I 4 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


On a subconscious level, average Ones often have issues (guilt, 
shame, anxiety) about their bodies and bodily functions. They have 
been taught that they and their needs are messy, and that their body 
and its natural instincts are dirty, something to be ashamed of. They 
have to be ultraclean, ultracareful, and ultrascrupulous. In many Ones, 
this manifests as an exaggerated modesty, or in a nervousness about 
matters of eating, elimination, or sex. 

In reaction to their superego demand for self-control, Ones start 
giving themselves secret “outs,” or what we call escape hatches. They 
develop secret behaviors and indulgences, giving themselves permis¬ 
sion to do as they please in a way that feels safe and that they can ra¬ 
tionalize. Their escape hatches represent a partial rebellion against the 
superego, a way of letting off steam without throwing off the super¬ 
ego altogether. Thus, the proper workaholic office manager takes se¬ 
cret weekend trips to Las Vegas; the minister, decrying godless 
humanism, develops a secret enthusiasm for pornography; and the 
human rights activist secretly abuses his girlfriend. 


IDENTIFYING ESCAPE HATCHES 


Do you have some escape hatches? What are they? What are they an escape from? What do they tell you 
about your own superego’s prohibitions? 


Being Critical and Judgmental 


“A day spent judging another is 
a painful day. A day spent judging 
yourself is a painful day.” 

Buddha 


As they become more strict with themselves and unforgiving of 
their errors, average Ones cannot help but dwell on their shortcomings. 
Some of their “defects” are too painful to face and are quickly repressed. 
They become preoccupied with other, smaller infractions and seldom 
get a break from their critical inner judge on these matters. All they can 
do is to strive even harder to be “good.” They may also become more 
judgmental and critical of others. 

If we examine the function of judgment in personality, we see that 
it serves to reinforce our sense of self by separating us from that which 
we are judging. Judgment is one of the most powerful ways that human 
beings draw boundaries and cut themselves off from direct contact with 
their experience. When we judge ourselves, we create a state of internal 
war. Like war, judging is very expensive in the energy, time, and effort 
it consumes. Rather than expand us or liberate us, our judgments ex¬ 
haust us and limit us. 

The Essential self exercises discernment, notes differences, and 
makes decisions about what to do; by contrast, ego-based judgment al- 






TYPE 


ONE: THE 


REFORMER 


I I 5 


ways carries a certain negative emotional charge. Its primary function 
is not to discern but to create distance (or a boundary). The hallmark 
of judgment (rather than Essential knowing) is that it is divisive. 

Ego judgment also contains an element of being “better than” that 
which is being judged. Even when we are judging some aspect of our¬ 
selves, some part of us is saying about another part, “Well, I’m better 
than that!” Such a position is paradoxical and conflicted since, in a sin¬ 
gle human being, who is judging whom? 

Ted is a carpenter who prides himself on fine craftsmanship, but he 
is aware of the cost of his exacting standards. 

I know that when I’m getting caught up in my stuff, I can be pretty se¬ 
vere with people sometimes.The worst of it is that no matter how 
tough I am on others, I’m always ten times harder on myself. When I 
actually stop and listen to what I’m saying to myself, I can’t believe it. 

I wouldn't talk like that to my worst enemy! 


THE RUNNING COMMENTARY 


In your Inner Work Journal, write down all of the judgments (good or bad) that you have made about 
other people in the last three hours or so. If you have just gotten up in the morning, write down all of the 
judgments you have made about others since arising. Did you make judgments about people you heard on 
the radio, or on television, or saw in your home, apartment building, or on the street going to work? 

Now do the same about yourself. How have you judged yourself in the last three hours? Is there a com¬ 
mon theme to your judgments? 


The Inner Critic and Perfectionism 


Average Ones are highly sensitive to criticism. This is not particu¬ 
larly surprising given their background of constant je^criticism: any 
further negative feedback from others can be extremely threatening. 
Ones feel as though they need all of their strength and concentration 
to meet the ruthless standards of their own Inner Critic, so they pos¬ 
sess few resources for handling even the slightest hint of criticism from 
others. 

The only way that Ones can escape self-criticism is by being per¬ 
fect. Of course, this is virtually impossible, although average Ones give 
it their best effort since they feel that nothing less than perfection will 
be acceptable either to them or to others (who would be disappointed 
with them with less) or to their own standards. They therefore feel that 
they can never afford to take a day off, so to speak, lest they come under 
attack from their harsh inner judge. 


“Perfectionism is self-abuse of 
the highest order.” 

Ann Wilson Schaef 







I I 6 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Morton, a successful architect, relates to this experience. 

Several years ago I won a prestigious architectural prize from an in¬ 
ternational jury. But the problem was that it was only second prize. 

It wasn’t so much that I didn’t win first because I wanted “first prize” 
but more the fact that I berated myself for the mistakes in my design. 

I tossed and turned for days, redrawing the plans in my head. I was 
so critical and negative and down on myself that I couldn’t enjoy the 
fact that I actually won second prize! Not bad for someone barely 
out of school—but not good enough for my superego, I guess. 

No matter how critical, destructive, and erosive of their self- 
confidence their Inner Critic is, average Ones are convinced that their 
Critic is the sole voice of reason—their guiding star that will lead them 
to salvation. They would be greatly helped by recognizing that their 
superego voices are actually destroying their integrity and harming 
them and their relationships. But once they become identified with 
their Inner Critic, it gives them a real (but shaky) sense of self- 
confidence that is difficult for Ones to question or to change—that is, 
until they see how destructive it can be. 


REACTING TO 
STRESS: 
ONE GOES TO 
FOUR 

▲ 


Under conditions of increased stress, average Ones long to be free 
of their burdens and obligations and may find themselves spending 
time in daydreams and fantasies of romance or escapes to exotic locales 
much like average Fours. They mayalso feel romantic and harbor for¬ 
bidden longings for people they have encountered. As Ones, however, 
they are generally too self-inhibiting to inform the object of their de¬ 
sire of their true feelings, much less act on these feelings. If Ones do 
risk hinting at their interest in their fantasy “lover,” any rebuff or 
ridicule results in profound feelings of shame and a deeper resolve to 
hold their impulses at bay. Ones feel guilty for being irresponsible and 
become even stricter with themselves. 

The move to Four can be seen as an indication of Ones’ growing dis¬ 
enchantment and alienation. They feel that no one understands them or 
how hard they are working, and they can suddenly become moody, 
melancholy, and withdrawn. Their discipline and self-control collapse 
into stormy feelings of envy and resentment. (“Everyone else is having a 
better life than me.”) Usually steady Ones may engage in unexpected dis¬ 
plays of drama or pouting or in a highly affected way of behaving that 
seems out of character with their background. Emotional outbursts, 
moodiness, hostility, and social withdrawal can all be part of the picture. 
Should they be questioned about any of this. Ones will become even 
more painfully self-conscious and self-controlled. 



TYPE 


ONE: THE 


REFORMER 


I I 7 


In the lower Levels, the move to Four can lead Ones into growing 
self-indulgence and a willingness to give themselves a few exceptions 
to their own rules. After all, no one has been working as hard as they 
have. Who would fault them for having a few drinks or a steamy, 
illicit romance? In and of themselves, these behaviors might not be 
particularly harmful, but because these activities run counter to Ones’ 
superegos’ dictates, they become the source of even more pressure and 
anxiety. Further, Ones’ choices of distractions tend to be self-indulgent 
rather than truly nurturing, so they have little effect in actually reliev¬ 
ing Ones’ tension and frustration. As they become more unhealthy, 
their superego becomes so severe that they may unconsciously seek 
more destructive escapes to counteract it. 


If Ones have suffered a serious crisis without adequate support or 
coping skills, or if they have suffered from chronic abuse in childhood, 
they may cross the shock point into the unhealthy aspects of their 
type. This may lead them to a fearful recognition that their views, po¬ 
sitions, and methods may actually be wrong, or at least limited, 
flawed, and overstated. Ones may also fear that because they have 
been so strident in expressing their standards, others will hold them 
mercilessly accountable for their errors. Some of these fears may be 
based on fact. 

These realizations can be a turning point in a One’s life. If Ones can 
recognize the truth in these fears, they may begin to move toward health 
and liberation. On the other hand, they may become even more self- 
righteous and inflexible. (“Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and there 
are no exceptions.” “They disagree with me because they are corrupt.”) 
If Ones persist in this attitude, they may cross into the unhealthy levels. 
If you or someone you know is exhibiting the below warning signs for 


THE RED FLAG: 
THE ONE IN 
TROUBLE 

▲ 


WARNING SIGNS 

POTENTIAL PATHOLOGY: 
Obsessive-Compulsive 
Disorder, Depressive Person¬ 
ality Disorder, eating disor¬ 
ders, crippling guilt, and 
self-destructive behaviors. 


► Taking rigidly inflexible positions 

► Extremely self-righteous and very judgmental 

► Rationalizing and justifying their own actions 

► Intense feelings of disillusion and depression 

► Outbursts of rage, intolerance, and condemnation 

► Obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviors 

► Periods of masochistic self-punishment 




118 THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

an extended period of time—more than a few weeks—getting counsel¬ 
ing, therapy, or other support is highly advisable. 

► First and foremost, become acquainted with your superego— 
your inner judge. Learn to distinguish it from your self, to recognize its 
“voice” and its effects on you. Pay attention to the ways in which it af¬ 
fects your sense of well-being and your connectedness with your envi¬ 
ronment. Begin to think of that commanding voice as “it,” not as “I.” 
Remember it only sounds like the voice of God. 

► Be aware of your tendency to push yourself beyond your limits 
of endurance. No doubt the projects you are working on are important, 
but you cannot remain as effective if you fail to take breaks or refresh 
yourself. Your work will not suffer from these “breathers”; in fact, the 
fresh perspectives they may give you can provide better ways of ap¬ 
proaching your task. Leave time for play. Many of your greatest inspi¬ 
rations will come from your sense of playfulness. 

► You tend to believe that everything falls on your shoulders, and 
this can be extremely stressful. Let others help you, and understand 
that while their approach may not be as well considered as yours, their 
contributions may even enhance your own perspective. You can also 
create a space for more serenity in your life by accentuating the positive 
in what others do. If you are a One, it is likely that others in your life 
know that you are capable of constructive criticism, and they may well 
seek you out for honest input. Don’t be afraid, however, to express your 
appreciation of others and their efforts, as well. They will not think less 
of you, and since you are probably known for your honesty and forth¬ 
rightness, a compliment from you will mean a lot. 

► It sometimes takes time for you to notice that you need some¬ 
thing, especially in the area of emotional needs. But when you do realize 
it, by all means let others know. Your integrity will not be lost if others 
see that you are upset or troubled. On the contrary, being open and hon¬ 
est about your vulnerabilities is a key element to developing greater in¬ 
tegrity. At the same time, be aware of the tendency to talk at others rather 
than to them. When you are frustrated or annoyed, be sure to make eye 
contact when communicating with people so that they do not become 
abstractions to you. 

► Realize that you are not going to be able to get rid of the parts 
of yourself that you do not like. At best, you can repress them for a 
while, but this only postpones and magnifies your problems. As long as 
you hold that there is some way that you are supposed to be, you can¬ 
not really be with who and what you are right now. Try becoming more 
aware of these parts of yourself, understanding them more intimately 


PRACTICES THAT 
HELP ONES 
DEVELOP 



TYPE 


ONE: THE 


REFORMER 


I I 9 


instead of trying to change them. You cannot transform yourself—none 
of us can. Stop your self-improvement projects and learn to be with 
yourself. That will be far more challenging than straining to conform 
to an idealized notion of what a good person is like. 

► Learn to recognize and process your anger. While you do not act 
out your anger or pretend it is not there, you hold a lot of it in your body, 
so any kind of therapeutic massage or energy work can be extremely ben¬ 
eficial for you. Similarly, yoga or simple stretching exercises can do won¬ 
ders for your physical and emotional well-being. You can also become 
aware of ways that you unconsciously hold your body in certain postures, 
or how you may use more tension than necessary when performing even 
simple tasks. Anything from writing a letter to driving a car can be done 
with relaxation and attention or with tightness and resistance. 


Although all of us face difficult issues, regardless of our type, 
we also possess many strengths, although we do not always recog¬ 
nize them. It is important to remember that these positive qualities 
do not need to be acquired or added—they already exist and can 
be called upon at any time. 


BUILDING ON 
THE ONE’S 
STRENGTHS 


THE ONE’S GIFTS 

While no healthy type is comfortable with untruth, Ones in par¬ 
ticular are powerfully motivated to be honest in all of their affairs. 
Further, merely speaking honestly is not enough. As much as possible. 
Ones want their word and deed to be consistent—to “walk the walk.” 
Deceiving someone or claiming abilities they do not possess is incon¬ 
ceivable to them. They say what they mean and do what they say. This 
kind of integrity is deeply moving and inspiring to others. It is a call to 
excellence that leaves few unaffected. 

Jeanne, the spiritual director we met early in this chapter, describes 
the pleasure she derives from maintaining her integrity. 

As a school principal, it was my duty to see to it that the children 
were primary in our focus. Nothing else could supersede that moral 
duty.There was always satisfaction in being able to transcend my own 
needs for the sake of the whole. Being your best meant never cutting 
corners or taking the easy way out of a situation. 

Healthy Ones reinforce their sense of integrity by developing a set of 
clear principles that they live by. Central among their principles is a sense 



I 2 0 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


of evenhandedness, of wanting other people to be treated fairly. These 
principles, for Ones, are the objective yardstick by which they hope to 
evaluate their experiences and choose wise courses of action. But healthy 
Ones utilize flexible standards and are always open to improving them. 

Further, healthy Ones are not motivated by personal advantage or 
gain. They can put aside their personal comfort and agenda for something 
that is the long-range good for everyone involved. For instance, acknowl¬ 
edging the deterioration of their local school systems, Ones might vote to 
support tax levies for the schools. Needless to say, Ones do not like paying 
taxes any more than anyone else, but they are willing to tighten their belts 
if it means a long-range benefit to their community. Further, it is likely 
that the healthy One will have done his homework and will try to con¬ 
vince others of the problems that will be faced if the schools are not im¬ 
proved. (Also, since healthy Ones are more flexible in their positions, they 
are able to communicate their views to others in ways that others are able 
to hear.) Without such foresight and sacrifice, the world would certainly 
be a much poorer place. Indeed, in the current “throwaway culture” of 
mass consumption, sound bites, and profit and loss measured in weeks or 
even days, the Ones’ gift is more important than ever. 

Although healthy Ones care passionately about specific issues and 
feel that they have rational approaches to the problems they encounter, 
their principles, methods, and ethical standards are for their own guid¬ 
ance. They are not necessarily trying to fix anyone else, and they appeal 
to others by setting an extraordinary example, not, by preaching or 
proselytizing. Even so, others are willing, even eager, to hear their 
views. Further, because they accept most of their own humanity and are 
understanding of the foibles of others, they can be quite eloquent and 
effective at conveying the truth and wisdom of their perspective. 

Healthy Ones are able to accomplish many of their objectives be¬ 
cause they maintain a balanced self-discipline. They work very hard and 
make good use of their time, but they also know when “enough is 
enough” and it is time to rest or play. They understand that an important 
part of their effectiveness comes from taking good care of themselves, 
getting sufficient rest, and not working themselves into the ground. Even 
with their pleasures, however, they tend to be selective, seeking out vaca¬ 
tions, diversions, or leisure activities that will be enriching as well as en¬ 
joyable. (Healthy Ones, in contrast to average Ones, are also quite 
capable of levity and even occasional silliness.) One might say that their 
self-discipline is based on the notion of “moderation in all things.” 

Cassandra came to the realization that balance rather than perfec¬ 
tion is what is needed. 

Finally I have found an activity I really love: dancing. I dance frequently 

now and have found that I can lose myself completely in that activity. 



TYPE 


ONE: THE 


REFORMER 


I 2 


A playful, sensuous, flirtatious side of me comes out when I dance, 
and I love it! It gives permission for me to express myself more fully 
and in healthy ways. I feel that dancing has created a wonderful coun¬ 
terbalance to my overserious One-ness. 

In a nutshell, Ones care deeply about being good people and are 
moved into action by wanting to do something about the problems 
they see around them. They would like to show others that they do not 
need to settle for many of the horrific and unjust conditions in the 
world. Like healthy Eights, Ones firmly believe they can make a dif¬ 
ference and find it difficult to turn away from challenges. Whether they 
are dealing with homelessness, corruption in their profession, problems 
in the educational system, matters of health and diet, or lapses of ethi¬ 
cal behavior in their own immediate environment, Ones feel strongly 
that change is possible and that they want to be part of the solution. 

Thus, high-functioning Ones are a source of wisdom and discern¬ 
ment in an ambiguous world. They have an extraordinary ability to 
know how to do the right thing, particularly regarding moral values. 
Because of their great realism and objectivity, they can set aside their 
own passions and preferences—even their own past experiences and ed¬ 
ucation—in order to discern the best choice in a given situation. 


Ones actualize themselves and remain healthy by allowing the 
spontaneous arising of their instinctive response to life, as in healthy 
Sevens. Ones discover that they can permit themselves to be affected by 
reality without needing to tense themselves against it. This is particu¬ 
larly true of their inner reality—they gradually learn to relax their 
guard and feel more comfortable with whatever state they find them¬ 
selves in. 

Also like healthy Sevens, integrating Ones become less opinionated 
and more open to a wider variety of possibilities for themselves. They 
become more curious, more optimistic, more interested in learning, 
and especially more interested in learning about views differing from 
their own. Rather than harming their integrity, Ones discover that this 
approach to life brings depth and breadth to their own views. They are 
more able to relate to others’ perspectives. 

In the process of integrating the qualities of the healthy Seven, Ones 
may encounter fears of losing control of themselves. Their superego will 
launch a fierce attack, telling them that if they relax and allow them¬ 
selves to feel more free and positive or even to accept themselves, all hell 
will break loose. This attack often manifests as a fear of their own anger. 
Ones are terrified of feeling the full extent of their anger, believing that 
to do so would lead them to perform horrible acts. But if Ones are 


THE PATH OF 
INTEGRATION 
ONE GOES TO 
SEVEN 



I 2 2 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


healthy enough to be conscious of their impulses, it is highly unlikely 
that they will be driven to act them out. Indeed, it is the lack of aware¬ 
ness and lack of self-acceptance that leads to uncontrolled acting out. 

Of course, Ones cannot integrate by imitating the qualities of the av¬ 
erage Seven. There is no point in their becoming more hyperactive and 
hedonistic. Ones need rather to recognize the repression and sorrow in¬ 
herent in their own personality structure. As Ones become more aware of 
the stringent rules of their superegos and learn to distinguish themselves 
from these internal “voices,” they begin to naturally unfold the qualities of 
the healthy Seven—joy, enthusiasm, curiosity, and open-mindedness. 


TRANSFORMING 
PERSONALITY 
INTO ESSENCE 

▲ 


“Wisdom is not just about 
moral behavior, but about the 
‘center,’ the place from which 
moral perception and moral be¬ 
havior flow.” 

Marcus Borg 


The challenge for Ones is to make peace in their internal war, and 
they can do that only by accepting all parts of themselves as they are 
without judgment. Whatever is part of human nature is there for a 
purpose (presumably for a Divine purpose). If humans come with sex¬ 
ual urges, desires for pleasure, feelings, irrational impulses, and the 
ability to perceive and judge (rightly or wrongly), it makes little sense 
to condemn them—because that is the way human beings are 
equipped. We can either complain to the manufacturer, as it were, and 
attempt to get another model—or learn to go places with the one we 
have. 

What Ones are actually seeking is not judgment but the quality of 
discernment. Discernment is noticing that things have different qualities. 
Judgment, however, includes an emotional reaction that actually inter¬ 
feres with discernment. It is one thing to say that the carpet is a different 
color from the wall. It is another thing to say that one is better, more im¬ 
portant, or more righteous than the other. In other words, a witness and 
a judge are not the same thing. Discernment requires us to be a witness. 

Note that we are not talking about situation ethics or ethical rela¬ 
tivism but about the ability to see that as situations and facts change, 
so does what can be expected as a best outcome from them. Wisdom 
allows us to see reality exactly as it is, not as we wish it to be. Wisdom 
does not ignore right or wrong or deny that there are better or worse 
choices that a person might have made. Rather, wisdom looks at the 
choices that have been made, at the situation in which we find ourselves 
now, and considers the best possible thing to do. Wisdom always sees 
what is truly necessary and for the best—although it can only arise in 
the present moment and spring forth from an absence of preconceived 
values, opinions, and judgments. Even if we have created some kind of 
hell for ourselves, wisdom can show us a way out—if we are willing to 
suspend judgment about what we “should” do, or how we “must” re¬ 
spond. Only if we are not obsessed with being right will we be able to 
find true righteousness—which is, after all, finding true balance. 



TYPE 


ONE: THE 


REFORMER 


I 2 3 


The key word Ones need in order to heal is acceptance. This does 
not mean permissiveness; it means that if I really want to be in the ser¬ 
vice of good, I have to work with what is. For Ones to accept reality is 
also to accept themselves by learning the quality of allowing —allowing 
people to be, including themselves. They allow everyone to learn the 
truth on their own, at their own time, and in their own way. 
Acceptance does not reduce our capacity to discern or to choose wise 
actions; rather, it increases that capacity infinitely. 

Acceptance opens doors, both inner and outer. People instinctively 
respond to healthy Ones precisely because Ones make them feel that 
their concerns are understood and that they are accepted. Many twelve- 
step meetings end with what is called the Serenity Prayer. Ones who 
seek inner growth would do well to reflect on it. 


"The curious paradox is that 
when I accept myself just as I am, 
then I can change.” 

Carl Rogers 


God grant me the serenity to accept 
the things I cannot change, 
the courage to change the things / can, 
and the wisdom to know the difference. 


THE EMERGENCE OF ESSENCE 

Deep down, Ones remember the essential quality of perfection. 
They know that, at a profound level, the universe is unfolding exactly 
as it must. (As in Julian of Norwich’s famous dictum, “All will be well. 
Every manner of thing will be well.") This sense of perfection is related 
to the sense of wholeness and completeness that we saw in Types Eight 
and Nine. Ones experience this perfect oneness as integrity. 

In the state of integrity, all the parts of the whole have seamlessly 
come together to create something more than the sum of the parts. We 
feel a deep peace and acceptance of life that gives us the ability to know 
exactly what is required in each situation and in each moment. We 
know exactly how much energy is required to accomplish a task, 
whether it is cleaning a window or sharing an insight. We move and act 
in life with a certain effortlessness—while accomplishing far more than 
we can with our bodies locked in tension. We are empowered by the di¬ 
rect knowledge that we are part of the perfect unfolding of something 
far beyond anything in our ego consciousness. 

Staying with awareness releases a profoundly wise and discerning 
intelligence that illuminates all that we attend to. When Ones, through 
patient self-acceptance and open-mindedness, are able to relax enough 
to recognize that this quality is, and always has been, available to them, 
they become the true instruments of the Divine will that they have 
longed to be. 



I 2 4 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 








CHAPTER 8 


TYPE TWO: 

THE 

HELPER 


"Love is the admiration and cherishing of the amiable qualities of the 
beloved person, upon the condition of yourself being the object of their ac¬ 
tion. ” 

—Samuel Taylor Coleridge 


"We cannot love ourselves unless we love others, and we cannot love others 
unless we love ourselves. But a selfish love of ourselves makes us incapable 
of loving others. ” 

—Thomas Merton 


“For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of 
all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all 
other work is but preparation. ” 

—Rainer Maria Rilke 


“To love a thing means wanting it to live. ” 




THE ALTRUIST 


THE LOVER 


THE CARETAKER 


THE PLEASER 


THE ENABLER 


THE SPECIAL FRIEND 


—Confucius 






Score each of the follow¬ 
ing statements according 
to how true or applicable 
to you it is on the follow¬ 
ing scale: 

1 . Not at All True 

2 . Seldom True 

. 3. Somewhat True 

4 . Generally True 

5 . Very True 


1. My genuine concern for others makes me become deeply in¬ 
volved with them—with their hopes, dreams, and needs. 

2. It feels natural to be friendly: 1 strike up conversations eas¬ 
ily and am on a first-name basis with everyone. 

3. I have found that people respond warmly to me when I give 
them some attention and encouragement. 

4. I cannot see a stray dog in the street without wanting to 
bring it home. 

5. I feel good about the fact that 1 am a thoughtful, generous 
person. 

6. It’s hard for me to take credit for the many things I’ve done 
for people, but it bothers me a lot when they don’t seem to 
notice or care. 

7. It is true that I often do more for others than I should—I 
give away too much and do not think of myself enough. 

8. I often find myself trying to win people over—especially if 
they initially seem indifferent to me. 

9. I take special joy in entertaining and hosting my friends and 
“extended family.” 

.10. I can be warm and supportive, but there is more steel in me 
than others might think. 

.11. I am able to express my feelings for people more openly than 


See page 150 for 
scoring key. 


.12. I make special efforts to know what’s going on with the peo¬ 
ple I care about. 

.13. I see myself as something of a “healer of broken hearts.’’ 

.14. My health and finances have frequently suffered because I 
have put other people’s needs and interests before my own. 

.15. I love to knock myself out to make people feel welcomed 
and appreciated. 








TYPE 


TWO: THE 


HELPER 


I 2 7 


PERSONALITY TYPE TWO: THE HELPER 


The Caring, Interpersonal Type: 

Generous, Demonstrative, People-Pleasing, and Possessive 

We have named personality type Two the Helper because people of 
this type are either the most genuinely helpful to other people or, when 
they are less healthy, the most highly invested in seeing themselves as 
helpful. Being generous and going out of their way for others makes 
Twos feel that theirs is the richest, most meaningful way to live. The 
love and concern they feel—and the genuine good they do—warms 
their hearts and makes them feel worthwhile. Twos are most interested 
in what they feel to be the really, really good things in life—love, close¬ 
ness, sharing, family, and friendship. 

Louise is a minister who shares the joy she finds in being a Two. 


► BASIC FEAR: Of being 
unloved and unwanted 
for themselves alone 

► BASIC DESIRE: To feel 
loved 

► SUPEREGO MESSAGE: 
“You are good or okay if 
you are loved by others 
and are close to them.” 


I cannot imagine being another type and I would not want to be an¬ 
other type. I like being involved in people’s lives. I like feeling com¬ 
passionate, caring, nurturing. I like cooking and homemaking. I like 
having the confidence that anyone can tell me anything about them¬ 
selves and I will be able to love them.... I am really proud of myself 
and love myself for being able to be with people where they are. I re¬ 
ally can, and do, love people, pets, and things. And I am a great cook! 


When Twos are healthy and in balance, they really are loving, help¬ 
ful, generous, and considerate. People are drawn to them like bees to 
honey. Healthy Twos warm others in the glow of their hearts. They en¬ 
liven others with their appreciation and attention, helping people to see 
positive qualities in themselves that they had not previously recognized. 
In short, healthy Twos are the embodiment of the good parent that 
everyone wishes they had: Someone who sees them as they are, under¬ 
stands them with immense compassion, helps and encourages with in¬ 
finite patience, and is always willing to lend a hand—while knowing 
precisely how and when to let go. Healthy Twos open our hearts be¬ 
cause theirs are already so open. They show us the way to be more 
deeply and richly human. 

Louise continues: 


All of my jobs revolved around helping people. I was a teacher who 
wanted to be sensitive to children and help them get off to a good 
start. I was a religious education director in a number of parishes. I 
thought that if people learned about the spiritual life, they’d be 






I 2 8 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


"I care about people. ” 


happier... .The most important part of my life is my spiritual life. I 
was in a religious community for ten years. I married a former priest, 
and we both have our spirituality as the basis of our life together. 

However, Twos’ inner development may be limited by their shadow 
side—pride, self-deception, the tendency to become over-involved in 
the lives of others, and the tendency to manipulate others to get their 
own emotional needs met. Transformational work entails going into 
dark places in ourselves, and this very much goes against the grain of 
the Two’s personality structure, which prefers to see itself in only the 
most positive, glowing terms. 

Perhaps the biggest obstacle facing Twos, Threes, and Fours in their 
inner work is having to face their underlying Triad fear of worthlessness. 
Beneath the surface, all three types fear that they are without value in 
themselves, and so they must be or do something extraordinary in order 
to win love and acceptance from others. In the average-to-unhealthy 
Levels, Twos present a false image of being completely generous and un¬ 
selfish and of not wanting any kind of payoff for themselves, when in 
fact they can have enormous expectations and unacknowledged emo¬ 
tional needs. 

Average-to-unhealthy Twos seek validation of their worth by obeying 
their superego's demands to sacrifice themselves for others. They believe 
they must always put others first and be loving and unselfish if they 
want to get love. The problem is that putting others first makes Twos 
secretly angry and resentful—feelings they work hard to repress or 
deny. Nevertheless, the feelings eventually erupt in various ways, dis¬ 
rupting Twos’ relationships and revealing the inauthenticity of many of 
the average-to-unhealthy Twos’ claims about themselves and the depth 
of their love. 

But in the healthy range, the picture is completely different. My 
own (Don’s) maternal grandmother was an archetypal Two. During 
World War II, she was “Moms” to what seemed like half of Keisler Air 
Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, feeding the boys, allowing her home 
to be used as a home away from home, giving advice and consolation 
to anyone lonely or fearful about going to war. Although she and her 
husband were not wealthy and had two teenage children of their own, 
she cooked extra meals for the servicemen, put them up at night, and 
saw to it that their uniforms had all of their buttons and were well 
pressed. She lived until her eighties, remembering those years as the 
happiest and most fulfilling of her life—probably because her healthy 
Two capacities were so fully and richly engaged. 



TYPE 


TWO: THE 


HELPER 


I 2 9 


THE CHILDHOOD PATTERN 

During their childhood, Twos come to believe three things. First, 
that they must put other peoples needs ahead of their own; second, 
that they must give in order to get; and third, that they must earn a 
place in the affections of others because love will not simply be given 
to them. They felt that the way'to be loved was to repress their own 
needs and to attend to the needs of others, lavishing attention on 
everyone else in an effort to be liked and wanted. To the degree that 
their childhood environment was dysfunctional, they also learned that 
to acknowledge their own needs was a form of selfishness and was 
strictly forbidden by their superego. (“Good people do not have needs. 
Taking too much time for yourself is selfish.”) 

Thus, Twos learned to function within the family system— and in 
all subsequent relationships —by being the helper, the selfless friend, the 
pleaser, and the giver of attention and nurturance to everyone else. 
Young Twos may have established a place for themselves in the family 
by looking after siblings, or by doing housework, or by taking care of 
their parents in a variety of ways. They are deeply conditioned to be¬ 
lieve that by sacrificing themselves, they will be rewarded with what¬ 
ever is called love in their family system. 

Lois, an expert educator and administrator, shares some of the 
sense of burden Two children feel. 

For as long as I can remember, I felt that it was my job to take care 
of others in my family. I felt I needed to help my mother and father 
to alleviate their stress. I am the second oldest of six children. I took 
care of my twin sisters who are eleven years younger than me. I re¬ 
call many times when I felt all depended on me. I spent the biggest 
share of my childhood cooking, cleaning, and washing clothes to help 
my mother who always seemed to be overwhelmed with her lot in 
life. 

This orientation creates a major problem for Twos, however. To 
fully identify with the role of nurturer and to maintain the positive feel¬ 
ings that this role creates for them, Twos must deeply repress their own 
needs, hurts, and self-doubt. Once this repression occurs, Twos have in¬ 
creasing difficulty acknowledging their own needs and pain and are 
drawn automatically to the needs and pain they see in others. On a 
deep psychological level, Twos are trying to fix in others the hurts they 
are unable to fully acknowledge in themselves. 

Maggie is a gifted therapist who has devoted her life to helping her 
clients heal their childhood wounds. Here she speaks vividly about her 
early self-abandonment. . 


Please note that the child¬ 
hood pattern we are de¬ 
scribing here does not 
cause the personality type. 
Rather, it describes ten¬ 
dencies that ive observe in 
early childhood that have 
a major impact on the 
type's adult relationships. 




I 3 0 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


On the first day I went to school for first grade, I saw many children 
playing at the playground.They were yelling, screaming, pushing, and 
running. I felt like I had fallen into hell since I was not used to being 
around children, and these children appeared to me to be very “out 
of control." What to do? Across the play yard I saw a little girl. She 
was crying very hard. She looked disheveled, and her hair was messy. 

Her shoes weren’t tied. She needed help! Bingo, I made a beeline for 
her, put my arms around her, and told her not to worry, I’d take care 
of her. It was instant codependency. I felt confident and needed. It 
would be many years before I ever realized how frightened I was and 
how that other child was my mirror. 

Given this inner dynamic, Twos learn to deal with their negative 
feelings by focusing on others, trying hard to please and help them. 
However, the more dysfunctional their background, the more they will 
expect rejection, and the more desperate they will be to elicit a positive 
response. Ultimately, they will do almost anything to get some sign, 
some token, that they are loved. 


THE WING 
SUBTYPES 

A 


Examples 

Mother Teresa 
Eleanor Roosevelt 
Desmond Tutu 
Danny Thomas 
Ann Landers 
Barbara Bush 
Lewis Carroll 
Florence Nightingale 
Albert Schweitzer 


THE TWO WITH A ONE-WING: THE SERVANT 

Healthy People of this subtype combine warmth with seriousness 
of purpose, as they strive after personal goodness and selfless service. 
The combination of the morality of the One and the empathy of the 
Two lead to a strong desire to relieve human suffering. These people are 
often Good Samaritans, willing to take on thankless and unglamorous 
tasks that others generally avoid. They are more serious-minded than 
the other subtype, more overt caretakers, often found in teaching, pub¬ 
lic service, healing professions, the ministry, and working with the dis¬ 
enfranchised or the physically or mentally challenged. 

Average People of this subtype feel obligated to struggle against 
their “selfish” attitudes and feelings: they feel responsible for others’ 
welfare and are typically dutiful, proper, and severe with themselves. 
They are emotional but tend to be strained in their emotional expres¬ 
sions because they feel awkward about drawing attention to themselves. 
They prefer working in the background, yet they want to feel signifi¬ 
cant in others’ lives. Twos with a One-wing feel conflicts between their 
emotional needs and their principles, often leading them to get in¬ 
volved in moral or religious teachings. They can become extremely self- 
critical and neglectful of their health, denying their personal needs and 
tending to play the martyr. 



TYPE 


TWO: THE 


HELPER 


I 3 


THE TWO WITH A THREE-WING: THE HOST/HOSTESS 

Healthy People of this subtype are more outgoing: they seek love 
through the creation of personal connection and making others feel 
good. The self-esteem of a Two with a Three-wing is tied to personal 
qualities rather than the quality of service to others. They are sociable 
and talkative, charming and adaptable, with much “personality” in 
evidence. They enjoy bestowing whatever talents and resources they 
possess on friends and family—cooking, entertaining, singing, and lis¬ 
tening—all as ways of sharing their inner bounty. 

Average People of this subtype are friendly and good-humored, 
although focused and ambitious. They are not typically into overt care¬ 
taking; more often they consider their friendship and the quality of 
their attention to be a sufficient gift to others. There can be a seductive 
aspect to people of this subtype, as well as more of a focus on relation¬ 
ships, excessive friendliness, exaggerated sentimentality, and histrionic 
displays, the result of the Threes desire for acceptance blending with 
the Twos drive for intimacy. Less serious and more task-driven than 
Twos with a One-wing, they are also less likely to engage in self- 
questioning and self-criticism. People of this subtype are direct about 
what they want, drawing attention to the services they provide. They 
can be self-important, high-handed, and sometimes arrogant. 


Examples 

Luciano Pavarotti 

Sammy Davis.Jr. 

Sally Jesse Raphael 
Arsenio Hall 
Anne Meara 
Jack Paar 
Anne Jackson 
Delta Burke 
Merv Griffin 
John Denver 


THE SELF-PRESERVATION INSTINCT IN THE TWO 

Entitlement. In the average range, Self-Preservation Twos repress 
their own Self-Preservation instincts while focusing on taking care of 
the needs of others. They are the Instinctual Variant most likely to wear 
themselves out for people while ignoring their own needs, often failing 
to get adequate rest or time for themselves. They often enjoy cooking 
or entertaining, but they may not eat well themselves or allow them¬ 
selves to enjoy the events they host. Subconsciously, however, they ex¬ 
pect others to take care of the Two's own Self-Preservation needs, but 
seldom are able to ask for help directly. Thus they arc especially prone 
to feelings of martyrdom. They feel that others “owe” them for their 
services, as if to say, “I’m entitled to whatever I need because of how 
much I’ve done for everyone else.” 

As their anxiety increases, Self-Preservation Twos have to find more 
indirect ways of meeting their needs. At the same time, their Self- 
Preservation instincts become distorted by a tendency to repress their 
feelings and impulses. Further, Self-Preservation Twos feel self-impor¬ 
tant, taking pride in their sacrifices and increasingly feeling entitled to 
indulge themselves in whatever they feel will compensate for their 


THE 

INSTINCTUAL 

VARIANTS 



I 3 2 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


suffering. Demands for special privileges and repayment for their sacri¬ 
fices coexist with overeating and medicating to suppress aggressive feel¬ 
ings. Denials of their problems alternate with complaints. Either “/don’t 
need help” or “Nobody notices my needs.” They increasingly rely on 
emotional manipulation of others—guilt trips—to get their needs met. 

In the unhealthy range, Self-Preservation Twos become trapped in 
delusional self-importance and gross neglect or abuse of their own 
physical well-being. Obsessions with food and with medical symptoms 
and syndromes are common, as are somatic disorders and hypochon¬ 
dria. Suppression of emotional needs or aggressive feelings, however, 
can create real health problems. 

THE SOCIAL INSTINCT IN THE TWO 

Everybody’s Friend. In the average range, the Social instinct ex¬ 
presses itself in Twos as a powerful desire to be liked and approved by 
everyone in their social sphere. They (like Sevens) usually maintain a 
busy social calendar and enjoy introducing people, networking, and 
hosting get-togethers. Others are amazed that they seem to be on a 
first-name basis with almost everyone. They like being the hub, the 
center of their social arena. Social Twos have a strong need to be no¬ 
ticed, to be remembered by people, and are driven by fears of being left 
out or overlooked. 

As their need for love and attention increases, they start to seek val¬ 
idation through popularity or by having closer contact with people 
who are successful or especially valued in their group. Social Twos may 
well have ambitions of their own, but these are mostly unconscious and 
indirect. Thus, they often maneuver to become the indispensable sup¬ 
porters of those they see as successful: “You scratch my back and I’ll 
scratch yours.” If they are insecure about their social desirability, they 
may cultivate talents to enhance their value and have more to offer (for 
example, being psychic). They attempt to impress people by dispensing 
advice—be it spiritual, financial, or medical—but also by name- 
dropping. The latter often gets them into trouble, because their desire 
to let others know that they are friends with important people often 
leads them to be indiscreet and to reveal confidences. Lower-average 
Twos can also create frustration for their significant others because they 
tend to scatter themselves among a wide range of social contacts, while, 
not giving much real attention to any one of them. They may pursue 
anyone who offers even a hint of approval and attention. 

In the unhealthy range, Social Twos can be highly patronizing, 
constantly drawing attention to “good deeds” and calling in their fa¬ 
vors: “Where would you be without me?” In a similar vein, they may 



TYPE TWO: THE 


HELPER 


I 3 3 


become classic enablers, covering up the misdeeds or dysfunction of 
their valued others in order to keep them around and in their debt. 

THE SEXUAL INSTINCT IN THE TWO 

Craving Intimacy. In the average range, Sexual Twos are the true 
intimacy junkies of the Enneagram. They are driven to get closer to 
others, both emotionally and physically. Sexual Twos like to win over 
people who are attractive to them, especially if these people present a 
challenge or seem initially uninterested. If Social Twos want to be 
everybody’s friend, Sexual Twos want to be one person’s best friend: 
they focus on a few individuals and like to see themselves as their 
friends’ number-one intimate, their closest confidante. Sexual Twos 
enjoy private time with the other, sharing secrets and talking about “the 
relationship.” They like to learn about whatever subjects are valued by 
their partner, and they may even do research into them in order to be 
closer. (“Wow—I’ve been listening to Sinatra recordings from the for¬ 
ties, too!”) 

The word seductive has often been associated with Twos in general, 
but it would mostly apply to the Sexual Two. All nine types can be se¬ 
ductive in their way. Sexual Twos seduce primarily by giving the other 
lots of attention. They offer to talk about the others problems in order 
to draw them closer. Overt sexual activity can also be part of the pic¬ 
ture, though this is not always conscious. 

As Sexual Twos’ anxieties about their desirability escalate, they 
begin to pursue the other. They fall prey to fears that others would not 
spend time with them if they did not make extra efforts to go after 
them. Lower-average Sexual Twos become increasingly pushy and de¬ 
manding and cannot take no for an answer. Even if they have the af¬ 
fections of the other, they feel that they cannot get close enough. While 
Social Twos like to network and introduce people to one another, 
Sexual Twos want to keep their friends apart, lest they discover one an¬ 
other and cut the Two out of the relationship. 

In the unhealthy range,. Sexual Twos become extremely jealous, 
possessive, and hovering, fearing to let the desired other out of sight or 
telephone reach. They may begin to obsess about the other, compul¬ 
sively “checking in,” unable to accept rejection or even inadequate re¬ 
sponses from the object of their desire. They may stalk the person they 
are romantically obsessed with or prey on those who cannot refuse their 


overtures. 



Key Terms: 


H 

E 

A 

L 

T 

H 

Y 


Level 


Level 

2 


Self-Nurturing 

Unconditionally 

Loving 

i 

Empathetic I 
Caring 


Level I Supportive 
3 Giving 


! i 

i Level Well-Intentioned j 


A i 

V i 

i 

E 

R 

A 

G 

E 


Level 

5 


Level 

6 


People-Pleasing I 


Possessive 

Intrusive 


Self-Important i 
Overbearing \ 

i 


Level j Self-Justifying j 
7 j Manipulative 


Level 

8 


Entitled 

Coercive 


. j Level | Fee/ Victimized 
9 ! Burdensome 


Twos let go of the belief that they are not allowed to care for themselves. 
Thus they can own their feelings and needs and are free to love others 
without expectations. They also achieve their Basic Desire, and liberated 
Twos experience unconditional love for self and others. They are joyous, 
gracious, and humble. 

Twos focus on the feelings of others with loving concern as a defense 
against their Basic Fear. Self-image: “I am loving, thoughtful, and selfless.” 

Twos reinforce their self-image by doing good things for others. They are 
generous with their time and energy and are appreciative, encouraging, 
and supportive of others. They are also emotionally expressive and enjoy 
sharing their talents with others. 


Twos begin to fear that whatever they have been doing is not enough—oth¬ 
ers do not really want them around. They want to be closer to others and 
to be reassured that others like them. Twos try to cultivate friendships and 
win people over by pleasing, flattering, and supporting them. 

Twos worry that the people they love will love someone else more than 
them, so they want to be needed. They attempt to have a claim on people 
by putting the needs of others before their own. Proud, but needy, they do 
not want to let the others out of their sight. 

Twos are angry that others are taking them for granted but are unable to 
freely express their hurt. Instead, they complain about their health, draw at¬ 
tention to their good deeds, and remind others of how much they owe 
them. Repressed feelings begin to cause physical problems. 


Twos fear that they are driving people away, and this may be true. To save 
their self-image, they rationalize their behavior by seeing others as “selfish 
ingrates.” They try to elicit pity as a substitute for love and keep others de¬ 
pendent on them to prevent them from leaving. 

Twos have become so desperate for love that they begin to pursue it obses¬ 
sively. They feel they are entitled to whatever they want because they have 
suffered so much, and they may act out their need for affection recklessly 
and inappropriately. 

The realization that they may have been “selfish” or even have harmed oth¬ 
ers is too much for unhealthy Twos. They fall to pieces, physically and emo¬ 
tionally, playing out the role of victim and martyr. Others are then obliged 
to step in and take care of them. 








TY PE TWO: THE 


HELPER 


I 3 5 


Most Twos will encounter the following issues at some point in 
their lives. Noticing these patterns, “catching ourselves in the act,” 
and simply seeing our underlying habitual responses to life will do 
much to release us from the negative aspects of our type. 


THE WAKE-UP CALL FOR TYPE TWO: 
“PEOPLE-PLEASING” 

As we have seen, Twos tend to be very generous, but they also tend 
to fall prey to insecurities about others’ affections for them. If they 
begin to fear that whatever good they have been doing for others is not 
enough, they can begin to get caught up in “people-pleasing”—looking 
for things to say and do that will make people like them. It is very dif¬ 
ficult for Twos operating this way to resist approaching people or to let 
others have their own feelings and experiences. They tend to rush for¬ 
ward and virtually engulf the other person. 

People-pleasing can take many forms, from a forced friendliness, to 
being overly solicitous of others’ welfare, to being too generous, to flat¬ 
tering others shamelessly. Further, Twos feel compelled to connect with 
people indiscriminately, becoming the best friend of the mailman and 
practically adopting all of the kids in the neighborhood because their 
self-esteem depends on being close to others. Twos are trying to fill a 
hole in their own hearts with positive feelings from someone else. Like 
most ego projects, this strategy is doomed to failure. 

Deep down, Twos are unsure whether others would be close to 
them if they stopped being so generous and supportive. Thus, while 
people may acknowledge their kind actions, Twos’ hearts remain un¬ 
touched. Appreciation does not heal their underlying feelings of worth¬ 
lessness. Also, on some level others know that there is a hidden agenda 
to the average Two’s “generosity.” This can, in time, cause others to dis¬ 
tance themselves and ultimately to reject the Two’s overtures. 

Rich, a married writer in his forties, recalls a childhood event that 
illustrates the pain behind this behavior. 

I was four or five years old and I wanted to be friends with a little 
girl who lived down the block from me although she wasn’t having 
much to do with me. I had a little wind-up locomotive that was one 
of my favorite toys, and I thought of giving it to her as a gift so that 
she would like me. I brought the locomotive to her house one after¬ 
noon and found her playing on her porch. But when I was just about 
to give it to her, I realized (without knowing the word for it) that I 
was bribing her. Still, I recall that it was a real struggle for me since 


THE TWO’S 
CHALLENGES TO 
GROWTH 

▲ 


“7 can make anyone like 



I 3 6 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


everything in me really wanted to give it to her so that she would like 
me and be my friend. 

WINNING PEOPLE OVER 

In your Inner Work Journal, devote a page to making notes about your own forms of people-pleasing. Do 
you tend to flatter others in order to attempt to get them to like you? Do you give money or do special fa¬ 
vors? How do you call attention to what you do for others, no matter how subtle you think you are being? 
Do you find yourself denying, or justifying, your own degree of people-pleasing? Is it something you are 
proud of or ashamed of? How would you react if others called you on it? How do you feel as you consider 
these things? How do you feel when the tables are turned and others are flattering or attempting to please 
you? 


The Social Role: The Special Friend 

Average Twos begin to define themselves as the Special Friend or 
the Confidante. They want others to regard them as their best friend 
t 4 and to seek them out for advice and to share special secrets and inti- 

Isnt it wonderful^how macies. Having a special place in the lives of their family and friends 

close we are. and knowing privileged information about them—the little things that 

no one else knows about—becomes “proof” of their closeness. Average 
Twos spend a considerable amount of time making new friends and 
staying in contact with old ones. They want to be kept informed about 
everything and consulted on all significant decisions. 

Twos also want others outside the relationship to know how inti¬ 
mate they are with their friends, so they often gossip in order to tout 
their intimacy and may well begin to drop tidbits of privileged infor¬ 
mation. Gossiping can also demonstrate how concerned Twos are for 
others. (“Jack and Mary are having marital problems—again. And poor 
Jack isn’t doing well at the office, either.”) 

Twos also put a lot of energy into finding ways of having more to 
bring to others by pursuing such interests as spirituality within their own 
religious tradition. Tarot card reading, massage, energetic healing, nu¬ 
tritional information, cooking, child care information, and crafts are all 
ways of being of service and of making people feel good about them¬ 
selves— and about the Two. Twos feel that if they have some kind of 
spiritual power or gift (reading auras, or giving others the Sacraments, 
for instance), then others will always want them. 





TWO: THE 


HELPER 


I 3 7 







138 THE WIS DOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

particular tone of voice, to receiving immediate thanks for a favor, to 
receiving a phone call or a sexual response. 

We call these specific responses terms of endearment. Unless the 
other person says certain words such as “I love you”—and in a partic¬ 
ular tone of voice, and with a certain look in their eyes—average Twos 
do not feel that they are loved. If the other person has chosen to express 
their love in a way other than the Two’s term of endearment, it does not 
count. In effect, Twos unconsciously judge the responses of others, and 
only a few select actions get through their superego filter. (“Jeff said 
hello and asked me about my day, but if he really cared, he would have 
stopped and had coffee with me.”) Of course, the more insecure Twos 
are, the more difficult it will be for them to accept even overt signs of 
affection as evidence of love. 

To get their need for terms of endearment met, average Twos drop 
hints about what will make them feel loved. (“Your birthday is January 
sixteenth, isn’t it? Mine is coming up soon.”) If love means getting 
flowers, a Two will send the other person flowers on her birthday— 
hoping that she will remember and reciprocate. Unfortunately, a dis¬ 
tinct element of “giving in order to get” has entered the picture. 

To the degree that we are locked into needing terms of endearment, 
we can miss a lot of the love that is offered to us. And since the Two’s 
terms of endearment are largely shaped by what they experienced as 
love during childhood, what passes for “love” can be extremely warped 
due to various forms of abuse. Further, the more rejected Twos feel as 
a result of childhood problems, the more difficult it will be for them to 
be convinced that anyone really does love them. Eventually, even gen¬ 
uinely loving responses from others will be seen as inadequate or even 
negative. 


RECOGNIZING LOVE 


in your Inner Work Journal, explore the question, “How do I know that I am loved?” What counts for 
love in your life? Whose love are you looking for? What are the signs that this person(s) is giving you love? 
How do you know, or how would you know that you are loved? 


Intimacy and Loss of Boundaries 

Bestowing approval, compliments, applause, and flattery can be se¬ 
ductive to others, and average Twos know it. They know the power of 
positive attention and how starved for it most people are. Their will¬ 
ingness to give attention and to express an interest in others can lead 






TYPE TWO: THE 


HELPER 


I 3 9 


quickly to a degree of intimacy that is unexpected and unusual for most 
people. Often without warning, others find themselves “in a relation¬ 
ship” with a Two and are expected to respond. If the Two is healthy, the 
other is free to respond in any way; but as Twos become increasingly 
needy, they expect others to respond in particular ways. 

Average Twos want to be physically close with those from whom 
they desire intimacy. They hug and kiss unself-consciously, putting an 
arm around a shoulder or giving an appreciative squeeze on the arm. 

They are often in danger of being too familiar in their body language, 
speech, and manner, something that can easily be misunderstood in the 
office or in other social settings. 

The more intent they become on establishing a relationship, the 
more trouble Twos have recognizing boundaries. They may ask ex- “I won’t take no for an 
tremely personal questions about someone’s finances, health, and sex answer.” 

life. They may also offer unsolicited advice and opinions. (“Mary is just 
not the right girl for you.”) If others have no particular needs or diffi¬ 
culties, Twos may begin to create them, often in unnecessary and med¬ 
dlesome ways. (“I’ll come over Saturday and take you to the grocery, 
then we ll come back and we ll clean your house together, and then 
we’ll go to a movie.”) If others back off because they feel intruded on, 

Twos generally react by redoubling their solicitude. 

Their intrusiveness can have sexual overtones. The Social and 
Sexual Instinctual Variants can make their emotional and sexual needs 
known rather clearly and forcefully, whether or not the other person 
wants that kind of interaction. A more innocent aspect of this, but one 
that still creates problems, is their tendency to “hover” and to follow 
others around, even into the bathroom or a dressing room. (“Why do 
you have the door closed? ”) Of course, these sorts of things usually 
have the unintended effect of actually driving others away. 


MEETING NEEDS—FINDING A BALANCE 


Remember to ask people that you care about what they need from you and what they do not need from 
you. Be willing to hear them and accept their boundaries. Also, notice when you are unable to do things for 
yourself because you have overextended your efforts for others. Compile a daily list of things you need to 
do for yourself and stick with it! Keep this list in a prominent place where you can see it. 


Disguised Neediness 

Twos have learned that they cannot express their needs and de¬ 
mands directly—they must do so indirectly, hoping that others will 
pick up the hints and repay them in various ways. Like Ones, Twos 







THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


4 0 

"Come get a bug. ” 


“Let me do that for you. 


have a strong superego that is involved with judging what they must do 
to be loved, what “counts for love” from others, the quality of their self- 
sacrifice, and so forth. Having needs and going after them openly (as 
the assertive types do) seems to average Twos to be selfish. 

Maria is an educator who has worked many years on her Type Two 
issues. 

I’ve had to practice being clear and direct with people, a remedial skill 
for me, at best. The real problem in this area occurs when I have to 
set limits, give a refusal, or ask a difficult favor of someone whose re¬ 
lationship I value. It takes tremendous courage for me to refuse 
someone or to ask a favor without offering justification, and it is ter¬ 
rifying to await an answer. 

Most Twos are afraid that having problems and needs of their own 
will only drive people away. Indeed, Twos may actually persuade them¬ 
selves that they do not have any needs of their own and that they exist 
only to be of service to others. 

Despite the fact that Louise is a minister and has many people de¬ 
pending on her already, she still “needs to be needed.” 

One of the things I am aware of is waking up in the morning and 
thinking about the people in my life in order to assess what they will 
need from me today. I did that with my children until they went away 
. to college. I always told them where I was “in case they might need 
me.” 

Once these behaviors become habitual, there begins to be an ele¬ 
ment of compulsiveness in Twos’ giving: they cannot not help. It be¬ 
comes an obligation to step in and save others. This puts others in the 
role of the “needy child” and enshrines the Two in the place of a strong 
and capable parent. Rescuing people this way can rob them of the op¬ 
portunity to solve their own problems and to build dignity and self¬ 
esteem. Unacknowledged and unresolved resentments can build on 
both sides. The person getting help becomes resentful for being treated 
like a child, and the Two starts to feel resentful for having put so much 
energy into the person without a payoff. Often, if the Two is successful 
in helping the person, once healed, the person is off to greener pastures 
and the Two is left with another heartbreak. 

Less healthy Twos may attempt to meet their hidden needs by 
steering people to compromising or embarrassing positions. For exam¬ 
ple, Twos often have issues with money (and all forms of repayment) 
and may borrow $1,000 from a friend or family member. In time, they 
may pay back $800, mentioning that they will repay the balance later. 



TYPE TWO: THE 


HELPER 


I 4 I 


Time passes, and no payment comes. The other person is put in the po¬ 
sition of having to either remind the Two of their debt or let it go. The 
Two’s high-handedness puts the other in the position of feeling cheap 
or petty for bringing the issue up. But to not bring up the problem 
often puts a cloud on the relationship or could end it altogether. This 
is a big gamble, but Twos are often willing to take it for two reasons. 
First, if the other person does not speak up, it enables them to feel re¬ 
paid in some way; second, if the other person does not speak up, they 
can persuade themselves that the other needs them so much that they 
dare not speak. They can feel that they are still wanted. 


RECOGNIZING NEEDS 


Whenever you find yourself needing to do something for someone, stop your activities, quiet yourself, 
and from your heart, ask what you need at this time. 


Being a Rescuer and Collecting Needy People 

On the positive side, Twos’ emotional and empathetic connections 
with others make them genuinely want to do whatever they can to help 
someone in distress, while their generosity and energy enable them to 
follow through in tangible ways. But on the negative side, rescuing oth¬ 
ers prevents them from relating to people in more satisfying ways. 

Assuming the position of rescuer leads Twos to begin focusing their 
attention and efforts on more needy people, even what might be called 
desperate cases. The appreciation they anticipate getting from success¬ 
fully helping needy people promises to be a source of gratitude and self¬ 
esteem. Furthermore, the more needy the beneficiary, the more selfless 
the Two seems to be, at least to their own superego. 

There are inherent problems with this situation, however. In ex¬ 
treme cases, the Two may be nursing someone literally in a coma. Since 
they cannot get an adequate response from the comatose person, they 
may turn to the person’s family and start ministering to their needs as 
well, thereby overextending themselves even further. They may work 
professionally with very young children, old people, orphans, drug ad¬ 
dicts, alcoholics, or terminally ill patients, all of whom need their ser¬ 
vices but who are unable to adequately return the Two’s love and 
attention. 

Going to deeply damaged, incapacitated people is self-defeating if 
one is looking for a mature emotional response from them. And yet this 
is what secretly emotionally needy Twos do. In their need to be needed. 



I 4 2 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


they give to people who cannot repay their gift. In the words of a pop¬ 
ular saying from the twelve-step programs. Twos are “looking for an or¬ 
ange in a hardware store.” 


FINDING GOOD BOUNDARIES 


When you involve yourself with someone, make explicit with the person what you want or expect from 
him or her. Notice when you get involved with people who you perceive as needing you in some way. Learn 
to avoid falling in love with fixer-uppers. (“He’s really cute, and he’s honest because he told me he’s a drug 
addict who beat up his last girlfriend. But if I just love him enough ...”) It is good to help people, but only if 
we are doing so without expectations about what they may do for us in the future. 


Possessiveness and Control 

The more average Twos spend time and energy on others, the more 
they begin to feel that they have an investment in them—an invest¬ 
ment that they want to protect. Others experience this as being posses- 
“Where would you be sive, and a related quality of jealousy can surface if these issues are not 
without me?” recognized. 

If an average Two becomes possessive, it is a sure sign that they are 
beginning to fear that others are losing interest in them or are about to 
leave them, possibly for a relationship with someone else. As a result, 
anxiety drives Twos to do things that can ultimately sabotage their re¬ 
lationship, although in the short term these tactics seem to them to be 
the way to save it and to further demonstrate their devotion. 
Possessiveness can be expressed in worrying about the other and in act¬ 
ing on all kinds of unacknowledged ulterior motives. 

Control issues are also part of the picture. Instead of bringing out 
the other person’s undeveloped qualities, average Twos may try to mold 
the other into someone who will meet their own emotional needs. 
Twos run the risk of becoming enablers, condoning—or worse, en¬ 
couraging—behaviors in the other that will be debilitating in the long 
run but that will virtually ensure that the other person will not aban¬ 
don the Two. 

To compensate for feeling unappreciated, low-average Twos may 
also take a patronizing or condescending attitude toward others, com¬ 
plaining about how much they have done or the expenses they have in¬ 
curred for them, or both. They may feel indispensable, convinced that 
people could not live without them. They cannot understand why oth¬ 
ers do not love them back immediately and wholeheartedly. They typ¬ 
ically feel that they are being taken for granted—and perhaps they are 
being pushed away. 






TYPE TWO: THE 


HELPER 


I 4 3 


GIVING RELATIONSHIPS ROOM TO GROW 


In your Inner Work Journal, explore the ways in which you have been possessive of your family and 
friends. In what ways have you found it difficult to let them go? How have you tried to hold on to people? 
Do you see the action of jealousy in your relationships? When in childhood did you begin to be aware of 
this emotion, and how did you deal with it then? Did someone in your childhood attempt to manipulate you 
through the use of jealousy or possessiveness? How does it make you feel when someone is being posses¬ 
sive of you? 


Health and “ Suffering” 

If Twos continue to overextend themselves for others, they wear 
themselves out physically as well as emotionally and financially. Their 
health inevitably begins to suffer because they are also “stuffing their 
feelings” (somatizing), producing eating disorders, weight gain, psy¬ 
chosomatic illnesses, and/or substance abuses. 

Their real (as well as their exaggerated) suffering allows them to feel 
like martyrs who are overburdened by their sacrifices for others, al¬ 
though they may well overrate their efforts on others’ behalf. Healthy 
Twos do not talk much about their own problems; lower-average-to- 
unhealthy Twos talk about little else. Past operations, scars, traumatic 
experiences, and health scares of all sorts are paraded before others in 
an attempt to elicit signs of concern and love. Hypochondria can be¬ 
come part of the picture as a further bid for gratitude and sympathy. 
They may erupt in rashes, intestinal problems, or arthritis and other 
stress-related diseases. 

For low-average Twos, health problems become “proof” that they 
have actually “worn themselves out for others,” just as they have always 
claimed. In addition, being ill is often the only way they can get a va¬ 
cation from their responsibilities and from the demands of their super¬ 
egos. 

Harold, an opera coach, recognizes this pattern in himself. 

I get resentful and emotionally unglued and histrionic. I cannot func- . 
tion. I cry when I am angry. I cannot speak without my lips quivering. 

I feel that I do everything for everyone else, and no one does any¬ 
thing for me. I cannot let things go. I cannot help thinking about 
things. I also have taken on too many obligations and when I cannot 
handle them, I get sick.This has been my way of reacting when I need 
a break or a vacation. 






I 4 4 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


TAKING CARE OF YOU, TOO 


Learn to listen to your body—especially around matters of rest. Notice when you are eating for emo¬ 
tional reasons rather than because you are hungry. Give yourself the kind of care you would insist on for 
someone you love. 


REACTING TO 
STRESS: 
TWO GOES TO 
EIGHT 


When their anxieties and stress exceed their coping abilities, Twos 
go to Eight, becoming more blunt and forceful. Twos normally present 
an image of selfless kindness, but the move to Eight reveals that they 
are remarkably tough underneath—others discover that beneath the 
velvet glove is an iron fist. Their usual indirectness shifts into a more 
frontal approach in which average Twos confront people directly about 
their lack of response—complaining about not being given an expected 
term of endearment or sufficient appreciation. They can be surprisingly 
aggressive and argumentative, insisting quite strongly that they have 
been wronged in some way. Needless to say, these kinds of complaints 
can come as quite a surprise to others. 

At the same time, like average Eights, Twos under stress become 
concerned about their survival needs and begin to work harder and 
more relentlessly. They do not want their efforts to go unrecognized, 
however, and like Eights, they put people on notice as to who is run¬ 
ning things. (“I hope you’re aware of how important I am in your life.") 
Under severe stress, Twos become more openly domineering and con¬ 
trolling. They make threats and undermine the confidence of the peo¬ 
ple who need them. The move to Eight can be seen as the acting out of 
feelings of rage and betrayal that, under ordinary circumstances, Twos 
feel unable to face. 


THE RED FLAG: 
THE TWO IN 
TROUBLE 

▲ 


If Twos have suffered a serious crisis without adequate support or 
coping skills, or if they have suffered from chronic abuse in childhood, 
they may cross the shock point into the unhealthy aspects of their type. 
This may lead them to a fearful recognition that their efforts to get 
closer to others are actually driving people away. Indeed, some of these 
fears may be based on fact. 

If Twos can recognize the truth in these fears, they may begin to 
turn their lives around and move toward health and liberation. On the 
other hand, they may become even more self-deceptive and manipula¬ 
tive and desperately attempt to maintain the belief that they have not 
done anything wrong or selfish. They may try to hold on to others at 
any cost while justifying their actions. (“I’m doing this for your own 
good.” “I understand if you want to go off and have a career, but what’s 







TYPE TWO: THE 


HELPER 


I 4 5 


going to happen to me?’’) IfTwos persist in this attitude, they may cross 
into the unhealthy Levels. If you or someone you know is exhibiting 
the following warning signs for an extended period of time—more 
than two or three weeks—counseling, therapy, or other support is 
highly advisable. 


WARNING SIGNS 

POTENTIAL PATHOLOGY: 
Histrionic Personality Dis¬ 
order, hypochondriasis, so¬ 
matization, eating disorders, 
serious, coercive sexual be¬ 
haviors, “stalking.” 


► Extreme tendencies toward self-deception 

► Acting with a sense of delusional entitlement 

► Episodes of manipulating and coercing others 

► Episodes of obsessive love out of keeping with age or status 

► Evidence of repressed aggression acted out inappropriately 

► Physical symptoms of emotional problems (somatization) 


► Do not be so concerned about what others think of you, and be 
particularly aware of trying to win over everyone. As you probably 
know, no matter what you do, you will almost always end up displeas¬ 
ing someone. It is therefore not possible for everyone to like you or to 
be your friend all the time. It is more important for you to think care¬ 
fully about doing the best that you can do for someone now and let it 
go at that. 

► Learn to recognize the affection and good wishes of others, even 
when they are not in terms that you are familiar with. Although others 
may not be expressing their feelings in a way that you want, they may 
be letting you know in other ways how much they care about you. 
Most people are not as effusive in their feelings as you are, and most are 
not as naturally inclined to give attention to others. But if you can rec¬ 
ognize what others are giving you, you will rest more easily in the 
knowledge that you are loved, and you will not feel as frustrated with 
others. 

► It is vitally important for you to develop good boundaries. 
Boundaries allow you to feel for others without becoming entangled in 
their problems. To support this, learn how to “sit in your own skin’ 
when others are troubled or need something from you. This does not 
mean that you should withhold affection or help, but it does mean that 
you need to stay connected to yourself at the times in which you are 
most likely to abandon your own best interests in the pursuit of ap¬ 
proval. (The meditation practices described in Chapter 17 will be 


PRACTICES THAT 
HELP TWOS 
DEVELOP 

▲ 





THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


4 6 


especially helpful in this regard.) If you can respect your own bound¬ 
aries, saying no when you need to, you are also much less likely to cross 
others’ boundaries. This will make for happier relationships all the way 
around. 

► It will be tremendously valuable to you to become more aware 
of when you are flattering people or in any way trying to ingratiate 
yourself with them. (There is often a very particular tone of voice that 
the personality has for such tactics, and it will be extremely helpful for 
you to learn to recognize it and to silence it when it arises.) Sincere feel¬ 
ings for others are one of your gifts, but they can be undermined by in¬ 
sincerity or excessive flattery. 

► Your pride is a compensation for something else: an underlying 
fear of worthlessness, that nobody wants you. Work on your pride by 
first seeing the many ways in which it subtly manifests itself. You do 
not have to have “proud thoughts” or an arrogant facial expression to 
still be in the grip of pride; false humility is as much an expression of 
pride as trumpeting your own good works. Only real humility and the 
knowledge that you are loved—in fact, that in your Essential self, you 
are an expression of love—will dissolve pride. 

► Twos tend to give too much and then regret it. Be brutally hon¬ 
est with yourself about your motives when you do anything for anyone. 
Learn to doubt your own rationales. Learn to listen to your body and 
your heart: when both ache, you know that you are hurting, and giv¬ 
ing more to others so that they will appreciate you will not ultimately 
heal that hurt. On the other hand, closing down and cutting off ties 
with others will not solve the problem, either. Only brutal honesty 
about your intentions and your needs will do. 


BUILDING ON 
THE TWO’S 
STRENGTHS 


Insofar as they can, healthy Twos make good things happen 
for people. They will stay up late to take care of children or older 
folks, drive across town to bring food, or see to it that others get med¬ 
ical treatment. When there’s practical work to be done for people, 
healthy Twos will be there, throwing themselves into the effort heart 
and soul. 

The gift of their sincere good works speaks more eloquently for 
them than anything they could say. Thus, Twos are gifted with the ex¬ 
traordinary ability not simply to care about others but to actually do 
something meaningful for them. 

Healthy Twos exhibit a joyful, spontaneous quality that can resem¬ 
ble the joie de vivre of healthy Sevens. They laugh easily and deeply and 
do not rake themselves too seriously, simply enjoying life’s bounty with 



TYPE TWO: THE 


HELPER 


I 4 7 


people they care about. They possess a childlike enthusiasm for life and 
enjoy discovering new things about the world, others, and themselves. 

Of course, the ability to experience this freedom has much to do 
with the Two’s ability to maintain good boundaries—to say no when 
necessary and to have a clear sense of their real motivations at any par¬ 
ticular time. Healthy Twos are able to distinguish their own needs 
from the needs of others and to maintain a healthy balance between 
the two. 

Louise comments: 

I am at my best when I am at peace with myself. I can feel what I 
need and say it directly. I am aware of my inner self. I am calm and 
do not feel that I have to take care of anyone else. It is a very free¬ 
ing feeling. I can allow others to be, and I do not attempt to control 
or manipulate them. Then I can help others and give without re¬ 
sentment. 

Healthy boundaries also enable Twos to do good for themselves— 
to develop their own lives in significant ways. They do not get side¬ 
tracked by “helping” or interfering with others; they do not need to 
become preoccupied with the life of a loved one because they have a 
life of their own. Being able to be on their own and to stay with their 
own feelings is a major accomplishment for Twos. 

Good boundaries and emotional balance also allow Twos to be less 
prey to the responses of others. Healthy Twos recognize many differ¬ 
ent behaviors as positive and loving. If a Two says good morning to 
someone, and the person says good morning back but fails to hug 
them or acknowledge them in some other way, high-functioning Twos 
are not automatically disappointed. Even negative responses will sel¬ 
dom knock them off balance. If a person responds by saying, “I’m 
having a lousy morning. Leave me alone,” a healthy Two will not take 
it personally; they will be able to back off rather than push for a pos¬ 
itive response. In short, healthy Twos have enough self-esteem and 
self-nurturance not to take the reactions of others as a referendum on 
their own value. 

Healthy Twos also foster independence in others, nurturing self- 
confidence, strength, and new skills so that people can grow on their 
own. They really want others to thrive and do not want anyone to be 
dependent on them, physically or psychologically. They are sincerely 
encouraging and are extremely appreciative of the talents and strengths 
they find in others—a quality that is particularly helpful to those who 
may not see much good in themselves. 


“I’m glad to be able to 
share my gifts with 
others. ” 



I 4 8 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


THE PATH OF 
INTEGRATION: 
TWO GOES TO 
FOUR 



Twos become actualized and remain healthy by learning to recog¬ 
nize and accept all of their feelings without censoring them, like healthy 
Fours. Because Twos naturally focus on the feelings of others, their em¬ 
pathy can be developed to a heightened sensitivity, like an antenna at¬ 
tuned to the needs, pain, and states of others. It is as if the Two’s own 
“emotional body” extends to others, picking up subtle changes in their 
condition. When Twos integrate the qualities of the healthy Four, this 
sensitivity also extends to their own feelings and inner states. 

This does not mean that Twos need to act on their feelings. They 
might discover, for instance, that they are extremely angry or frustrated 
with a loved one, and they may experience the anger within them rather 
than explode at the person or leave them impulsively. Integrating Twos 
gradually become acquainted and comfortable with the entire panoply 
of feeling states available to them-—including their secret needs and 
their darkest hatreds. This gives them the ability to know when and how 
to nurture themselves, as well as the self-knowledge to voice their needs 
and fears as they arise. Just as Twos respond instantly to distress in oth¬ 
ers, integrating Twos also respond instinctively to distress in themselves. 

Exploring modes of self-expression—music, art, dance—or simply 
keeping a private journal can be extremely helpful to Twos. Yet each 
time a Two attempts to pursue more self-knowledge, via art or therapy 
or simply by asking for help from others, his superego will attack him 
for being “selfish.” (“Why are you spending all of this time on your¬ 
self?”) Twos can do much to counteract these voices by learning to stop, 
quiet their minds, and discriminate the strict “voice” of their superegos 
from real inner guidance. 

Twos will not gain much, however, by attempting to imitate the av¬ 
erage qualities of the Four. Becoming more emotionally volatile and 
self-absorbed will do little to enhance the real self-knowledge that Twos 
need. The Fourish tendency to fantasize romantically and to create 
heightened expectations of others will only worsen Twos’ need to get 
close to people. Rather, as Twos begin to break down the superego re¬ 
strictions against “selfishness” and learn to genuinely nurture them¬ 
selves, the self-knowledge, self-revelation, and creativity of the 
high-functioning Four naturally unfold. 


TRANSFORMING 
PERSONALITY 
INTO ESSENCE 


Real love is not scarce, but our personality does not know this. We 
put ourselves through all kinds of contortions, either trying to “get 
love” from others or to “make love happen.” We force ourselves to smile 
when we are sad, to be generous when we feel empty, and to take care 
of others when we need to be cared for, as if giving ourselves away one 
more time might turn the trick. But who could love us in a way that 
would make all of this effort worthwhile? 



TYPE 


TWO: THE 


HELPER 


I 4 9 


It is a major healing for Twos to realize that they are not going to 
heal their hearts this way—no matter how many self-sacrifices they 
make. They can, however, turn to the one source that can fulfill 
them—their own Essential nature. The one and only person who can 
love us deeply, constantly, and under all circumstances is us. Our own 
Essence is the source of love we seek because it is an expression of 
Divine love and therefore cannot be conditioned, withheld, or dimin¬ 
ished. 

When they learn to nurture themselves and look after their own 
needs, Twos achieve a balance in which loving and satisfying relation¬ 
ships are not only possible—they will happen as surely as the sun rises. 
They are free to love others and to give with an open hand. Twos be¬ 
come deeply unselfish and altruistic and are happy to do good, to see 
people thrive, and to see good being done in the world. Having dis¬ 
covered that it is a privilege to be in the lives of others, they realize a 
genuine humility and do not need to call attention to themselves or 
their good works. 

More profoundly, Twos grow tremendously when they recognize 
that love is not a commodity that can be won, demanded, earned, or 
bestowed by someone else—or that can be given to someone else, be¬ 
cause it is, in its highest and truest form, not a function of the ego. 
Love is not a poker chip or a bag of “goodies” that can be given or 
withheld. If the “love” we seek has these qualities, then it is not real 
love. 

When two people are truly present to each other, love naturally 
arises. It does not matter whether they have been lifelong friends or 
have just met. Love is also not primarily a feeling—although various 
feelings may well arise in its presence. Love is something that cannot be 
won or lost, because it is always available—but only to the degree that 
we are present and therefore receptive to it. 

We cannot will ourselves to love ourselves or to love others. All we 
can do, paradoxically, is to recognize the presence of love in ourselves and 
others. As we have seen, our Essential nature is an outpouring of love— 
the only problem is that it is blocked by the habits and false beliefs of 
our personality. What is in our power is to become aware of those 
blockages so that our essentially loving nature can once again make it¬ 
self felt and have a healing effect in our lives. The love that we experi¬ 
ence under these conditions is real and deep and quiet. It does not draw 
attention to itself. It is not demanding, nor does it keep accounts. It 
lasts because it does not depend on the changing conditions of person¬ 
ality. It is full of joy because nothing can disappoint or frustrate it. Real 
love in action is unstoppable. 



I 5 0 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


THE EMERGENCE OF ESSENCE 

On a very deep level, Twos remember die Essential quality of un¬ 
conditional love and the omnipresence of love. When they remember 
their Essential nature and the Divine state that it mirrors, healthy Twos 
are aware of the presence of love all around them, so there is quite lit¬ 
erally nothing that they need to get from anyone—and nothing they 
can give. Twos help all of us to see that love does not belong to anyone, 
and certainly does not belong to the personality. We could say that our 
job in life is not to “do good” or to “give” love to anyone, but to be 
open to the action of love. 

This Essential love is experienced as a sweet melting quality—Twos 
feel flowing, soft, and at one with everything around them. Further, 
they do not need to have another person with them to experience this 
love, and when they are experiencing this love in the presence of an¬ 
other person, they do not lose the sense of their own identity. This love 
is balanced, pure, and nourishing—it allows the soul to relax on a pro¬ 
found level. 

The recognition of the true nature of love brings with it a tremen¬ 
dous sense of freedom. When love is no longer a commodity and is un¬ 
derstood as a part of our true nature, as something we cannot lose, we 
experience an incredible lightness. Our desperate search for attention 
ends when we recognize that we not only have love and value, at the 
level of our souls, we are love and value. 


Add your scores 
• for -the fifteen 
statements for 
Type Two. Your 
result will be be¬ 
tween 15 and 
75. The follow¬ 
ing guidelines 
may help you 
discover or con¬ 
firm your person¬ 
ality type. 


► 15 You are probably not a compliant 


Twos are most 

type (not a One, Two, or Six). 


likely to 

► 15-30 You are probably not a Type Two. 


misidentify 



themselves as 

► 30-45 You most probably have Two-issues, 


Fours, Sevens, and 

or had a parent who was a Two. 


Ones. Nines, Sixes, 

► 45-60 You most likely have a Two-compo- 


and Sevens are 

nent. 


most likely to mis- 



identify themselves 

► 60-75 You are most likely a Two (but could 


as Twos. 

still be another type if you are think- 



ing too narrowly about Type Two). 










CHAPTER 9 


TYPE THREE: 

THE 

ACHIEVER 

▲ 


“The toughest thing about success is that you've got to keep on being a success. ” 

—Irving. Berlin 

“Most men that do thrive in the world do forget to take pleasure during the 
time that they’re getting their estate, but reserve that till they have got one, 
and then it is too late for them to enjoy it. ” 

—Samuel Pepys 

"All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries 
or credulities of mankind. ” 

—Joseph Conrad 

“A slave has but one master; an ambitious man has as many masters as 
there are people who may be useful in bettering his position. ” 

—La Bruyere 

“Be content to seem what you really are. ” 



—Martial 




Score each of the follow¬ 
ing statements according 
to how true or applicable 
to you it is on the follow¬ 
ing scale: 

1 . Not at All True 

2 . Seldom True 

3 . Somewhat True 

4 . Generally True 

.5 . Very True 


.1.1 see myself as a highly competent person: it really bothers 
me when I am anything less than effective and efficient. 

2. When things are going well for me, I virtually “glow” with 
a kind of inner joy in being who I am and having the life 
that I have. 

3. I try to present myself to others in the best possible light— 
but doesn’t everyone? 

4. My feelings have tended to be foreign to me—I feel things 
strongly for a little while, and then just get on with things. 

5. It’s important to me to feel successful, even if I’m not yet 
the success I want to be. 

6. For better or worse, I am good at covering up my insecurities— 
people would never guess what I’m really feeling! 

7. I want to make a good impression on people, so I’m usually 
polite, well-mannered, and friendly. 

. 8. I am aware of how well my friends and colleagues are doing, 
and I tend to compare myself with them. 

9. 1 often strive to be the best at what I’m doing—if 1 can’t be 
outstanding at something, I generally don’t bother with it. 

.10. Sometimes I’ve had to cut corners a little to achieve my 
goals. 

.11. When I am insecure, I can be rather aloof and cool with 
people. 

.12. It really bothers me when others don’t acknowledge the ex¬ 
cellence of what I’ve done. 


.13. I’m more adaptable than most: if things aren’t working well, 
I know how to change my behavior to obtain the results I 


See page 177 for 
scoring key. 


.14. I always have a goal in focus and know how to motivate my¬ 
self to achieve it. 

.15. I have a workaholic streak—I feel adrift if I’m not accom¬ 
plishing things. 








TYPE 


THREE: 


THE 


ACHIEVER 


I 5 3 


PERSONALITY TYPE THREE: THE ACHIEVER 


The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: 

Adaptable, Excelling Driven, and Image-Conscious 

We have named personality type Three the Achiever because when 
they are healthy, Threes really can and do achieve success in many areas 
of life. They are the “stars” of human nature, and people often look up 
to them because of their graciousness and personal accomplishments. 
Healthy Threes know how good it feels to develop themselves and con¬ 
tribute their abilities to the world. They also enjoy motivating others to 
greater personal achievements than others thought they were capable 
of. They embody the best in a culture, and others are able to see their 
hopes and dreams mirrored in them. 

Threes are often successful and well liked because, of all the types, 
they most believe in themselves and in developing their talents and ca¬ 
pacities. Threes act as living role models and paragons because of their 
extraordinary embodiment of socially valued qualities. Healthy Threes 
know that they are worth the effort it takes to be “the best that they can 
be.” Their success at doing so inspires others to invest in their own self¬ 
development. 

Threes want to make sure their lives are a success, however that is de¬ 
fined by their family, their culture, and their social sphere. In some fami¬ 
lies success means having a lot of money, a grand house, a new, expensive 
car, and other status symbols. Others value ideas, and success to them 
means distinguishing oneself in academic or scientific worlds. Success in 
other circles might mean becoming famous as an actor, or model, or 
writer, or as a public figure of some kind, perhaps as a politician. A reli¬ 
gious family might encourage a child to become a minister, priest, or rabbi 
since these professions have status in their community. No matter how 
success is defined, Threes will try to become somebody noteworthy in 
their family and theircommunity. They will not be a “nobody.” 

To this end, Threes learn to be goal-oriented and to perform in 
ways that will garner them praise and positive attention. As children, 
they learned to recognize the activities that were valued by their parents 
or peers, and they put their energies into excelling in those activities. 
Threes also learned how to cultivate and develop whatever about them 
is attractive or potentially impressive. 

Eve is a successful businesswoman. 


► BASIC FEAR: Of being 
worthless, without value 
apart from their achieve¬ 
ments 

► BASIC DESIRE: To feel 
worthwhile, accepted, 
and desirable 

► SUPEREGO MESSAGE: 
“You are good or okay as 
long as you are success¬ 
ful and others think well 
of you.” 


My mother trained me to perform. I was about three when I per¬ 
formed my first solo in front of the church congregation. I got a lot 






I 5 4 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


“If I work hard I know I 
can do it. ” 


of positive strokes for that and went on to perform in front of audi¬ 
ences throughout high school, either through music or debate.To this 
day, something mystical happens to me when I get in front of an au¬ 
dience. I "turn it on.” I am called on frequently as a public speaker, and 
some of my professional colleagues say that they hate following me 
on the program because I am such a hard act to follow! 

Everyone needs attention, encouragement, and affirmation in order 
to thrive, and Threes are the type that most exemplifies this universal 
human need. Threes want success not so much for the things that suc¬ 
cess will buy (as Sevens do), or for the power and feeling of indepen¬ 
dence that it will bring (as Eights do). They want success because they 
are afraid of disappearing into a chasm of emptiness and worthlessness: 
without the increased attention and feeling of accomplishment that suc¬ 
cess usually brings, Threes fear that they are nobody and have no value. 

The problem is that, in the headlong rush to achieve whatever they 
believe will make them more valuable, Threes can become so alienated 
from themselves that they no longer know what they truly want or 
what their real feelings or interests are. From their earliest years, as 
Threes learn to pursue the values that others reward, they gradually lose 
touch with themselves. Step by step, their own inner core, their “hearts 
desire,” is left behind until they no longer recognize it. 

Thus, while they are the primary type in the Feeling Triad, Threes, 
interestingly, are not known as “feeling” people; rather, they are people 
of action and achievement. It is as if they put their feelings in a box so 
that they can get ahead with what they want to achieve. Threes have 
come to believe that emotions get in the way of performance, so they 
substitute thinking and practical action for feelings. 

Jarvis, a well-educated and accomplished business professional, sees 
that this pattern developed in him at an early age. 

I had no conscious awareness of this at the time, but when I was a 
child, I wasn’t allowed to have my feelings at all. They counted for 
nothing in the framework of my stepfather’s concept of what it took 
to be successful. I developed the habit of denying my feelings and in¬ 
stead focused on performing and getting good marks in school. 

Threes report that when they realize to what extent they have 
adapted their lives to the expectations of others, the question arises, 
“Well, then, what do / want?” They often simply did not know; it was 
not a question that had ever come up before. Thus, the fundamental 
dilemma of Threes is that they have not been allowed to be who they 
really are and to manifest their own authentic qualities. At a young age, 
they got the message that they were not allowed to have feelings and be 



TYPE 


THREE: THE 


ACHIEVER 


I 5 S 


themselves: they must, in effect, be someone else to be accepted. To 
some degree, all of the personality types have been sent the same mes¬ 
sage, but because of their particular background and makeup, Threes 
not only heard it, they began to live by it. The attention they received 
by performing in a certain way was their oxygen, and they needed it to 
breathe. Unfortunately, it came at a high price. 

Marie, a skilled therapist, describes the contradiction—and the 
pressure—of this orientation. 

For most of my life, people always noticed when I was involved in any 
kind of activity, and they have usually looked to me for some sort of 
direction.This has been a two-edged sword because while I wanted 
to be noticed and approved, the burden was that I had to be per¬ 
fect—and that was tough. 


THE CHILDHOOD PATTERN 

As children. Threes were not valued for themselves—as very few of 
us were. Instead, they were valued for being and doing certain things 
extremely well. They learned to get validation of their worth through 
achievement and performance. But it never really satisfied them be¬ 
cause it was a validation not of them but of something they had done 
or something they tried to become. 

Marie continues: 

As a child I always felt that I was my mothers favorite.We spent hours 
together, and she convinced me that there was nothing I couldn’t do 
if I really wanted to do it.That was a blessing and a curse. I remember 
as a child convincing myself that I really didn’t want to do something 
because underneath I knew it would be too difficult for me. And I 
knew that if I did anything, I had to do it well and succeed. Once in high 
school, I stayed home pretending to be sick on the day of a speech 
competition because I was afraid of not doing so well, and I knew no 
other way out. I still have guilt feelings about that. 


Please note that the child¬ 
hood pattern we are de¬ 
scribing here does not 
cause the personality type. 
Rather, it describes ten¬ 
dencies that we observe in 
early childhood that have 
a major impact on the 
type’s adult relationships. 


Threes have a very deep emotional bond with the person in the fam¬ 
ily who played the role of the nurturer. Usually the nurturer was the 
mother, but it may not have been. The child hoped this person would tell 
them, in effect, “You are wonderful! You are pleasing to me! You are wel¬ 
comed into the world!” Because they want to continue to be validated by 
the nurturing figure, Threes as infants learn subconsciously to adapt 
themselves to do and be those things that will be pleasing to that person. 

Often the expectations of the nurturing figure are not directly stated. 




I 5 6 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Threes may internalize these subconscious expectations and live them 
out without realizing it. For example, if the mother is a teacher who re¬ 
ally wanted to be an actress, the Three child would likely be drawn to the 
theater, not necessarily liking it but feeling it was something he or she 
had to do. Even as young adults, Threes may not be at all sure why they 
are pursuing a certain career, only that they are doing what it takes to 
make their family (especially their mother) proud of them. 

Threes thus learn to play the role of the Family Hero. The child 
gets the subtle message, “It is not okay to not be okay.” The reason for 
this is that on a deep psychological level, if you are trying to redeem the 
wounds and the shame of your family, you cannot be hurt or shamed 
yourself. You have to at least seem to have it all together. 

Now an'outstanding therapist who has a firm grip on his need for 
attention, Albert reflects back on his early years as a budding show-off. 

Since my dad was in India during World War II, for my first fourteen 
months, my mom and I lived with my grandparents and an aunt and 
uncle. I was the first and only child, grandchild, and nephew! I got 
tremendous attention, doting, and reinforcement, especially for intel¬ 
ligence and achievement. At eighteen months, I was supposed to have 
had a tremendous vocabulary, and by three years old, I knew all the 
states and capitals. It’s amazing that no one ever pushed me down the 
stairs for what must have been my really obnoxious vocabulary and 
geography recitals! 

Threes who grow up in highly dysfunctional environments are left 
to struggle with enormous pent-up rage and hostility because almost 
nothing they do is enough to please their unhealthy nurturing figure. 
They can turn themselves inside out like pretzels, trying to come up 
with something that will win them approval and acceptance, but usually 
nothing works. Eventually, they split (dissociate) from themselves— 
burying their genuine desires and inner life—and do more extreme 
things to get attention. The final result can be a life of deep loneliness 
and frustration, even if they have achieved some kind of worldly success. 


THE WING 
SUBTYPES 

▲ 


THE THREE WITH A TWO-WING: THE CHARMER 

Healthy People of this subtype are more emotional and sponta¬ 
neous than the other subtype. Their outgoing, vivacious quality can re¬ 
semble Sevens’. They can be friendly, helpful, and generous like Twos, 
while maintaining the poise, self-esteem, and high personal achievement 
ofThrees. They want to be loved and have a drive to be close with peo¬ 
ple, but they sometimes substitute public life and the recognition they 



TYPE 


THREE: 


THE 


ACHIEVER 


I 5 7 


obtain there for a more satisfying private life and domestic stability. 

Average They attempt to suppress any characteristics that inter¬ 
fere with their desirability, feeling that their value comes from the abil¬ 
ity to attract and even dazzle others. In short, they want others to like 
and admire them. They know how to “turn it on” to impress, and this 
often becomes a preoccupation. Their behavior can have a smooth, ar¬ 
tificial quality that undermines their attempt to be popular and credi¬ 
ble. People of this subtype are often highly competitive, although 
usually covertly. They may resort to multiple images to satisfy their so¬ 
cial relations and to perform in intimate situations. 


THE THREE WITH A FOUR-WING: 

THE PROFESSIONAL 

Healthy People of this subtype feel that self-esteem comes from 
their work and career success more than from personal qualities. They 
want their work to be outstanding and well regarded, often putting 
great energy into their careers. They take pleasure in whatever profes¬ 
sion or “craft” they have chosen and are willing to make great personal 
sacrifices to maintain their professional integrity. While diplomatic and 
charming, they are more generally serious and task-oriented and can 
therefore resemble Ones. 

Average Powerful ambition and self-doubt mix in people of this 
subtype, inevitably creating tremendous pressures. Their drive for per¬ 
fection is similar to that of Ones; however, they aspire to embody perfec¬ 
tion in some way to avoid being rejected or shamed as inferior. People of 
this subtype feel they are putting their entire self-worth on the line with 
every project. They often project competence and poise but can be rather 
private socially (in contrast to the more outgoing and affable expressions 
of the other subtype). They may also display pretentiousness and arro¬ 
gance, mixed with self-consciousness and self-contempt, making this 
subtype perplexing and sometimes at odds with itself. 


Examples 

Bill Clinton 
Elvis Presley 
John Travolta 
Christopher Reeve 
Shania Twain 
Paul McCartney 
Sharon Stone 
Dick Clark 
Jane Pauley 
Kathie Lee Gifford 
Tony Robbins 


Examples 

Barbra Streisand 
Oprah Winfrey 
Tom Cruise 
Ben Kingsley 
Madonna 
Sting 

Richard Gere 
Michael Jordan 
Whitney Houston 
F. Scott Fitzgerald 
Werner Erhard 


THE SELF-PRESERVATION INSTINCT IN THE THREE 

Workaholism. In the average range, Self-Preservation Threes feel 
that they must constantly work for security and stability (like Sixes) 
and want to build up a base of material well-being (like Eights). Unlike 
Sixes, security comes from money, assets, and a stable home, not from 
loyalty to a company, ideology, or person. Self-Preservation Threes 
strive for efficiency, streamlining their lives as much as possible, seek¬ 
ing to maximize the energy they can put into achieving their goals. 


THE 

INSTINCTUAL 

VARIANTS 



158 THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

They attempt to impress others not with their sex appeal or their social 
status but with their stability and material well-being. They are also de- 
tail-oriented (like Ones), keeping track of all aspects of their particular 
job or enterprise. While willing to take on responsibility, make sacri¬ 
fices, and work long hours, Self-Preservation Threes are motivated by 
the possibility of advancement. They look for tangible rewards for work 
well done: raises, promotions, and positive reviews. 

Self-Preservation Threes can become excessively focused on their 
careers. Other aspects of their lives tend to become secondary to work, 
and they may neglect their health and relationships due to unrealistic 
schedules. They are unable to relax easily and-may even spend vacation 
time contemplating projects or "doing homework." In the lower- 
average Levels of Development, Self-Preservation Threes become in¬ 
creasingly anxious whenever they are not working and may have 
difficulty maintaining intimate relationships. Convinced that the 
material basis of their security could be lost at any time, they believe 
that they must constantly keep swimming or sink. Stopping their 
highly stressful work habits feels like courting disaster. Downtime can 
feel like incapacity or illness. ("What’s wrong with me? Why aren’t 1 
being more productive?”) For this reason, real illness, whether physical 
or emotional, can be very threatening because it reduces their efficiency 
and productivity. A few days off could bring down everything. 

In the unhealthy range, Self-Preservation Threes make gargantuan ef¬ 
forts to remain effective, sacrificing relationships and health for job secu¬ 
rity and money. They become highly prone to burnout and nervous 
breakdowns. When they are no longer able to function well, they desper¬ 
ately try to cover over any real physical or emotional health problems. 
(“I’m fine.”) 


THE SOCIAL INSTINCT IN THE THREE 

The Status Seeker. In the average range, Social Threes need 
recognition and reassurance that they are making progress, moving up 
in the world. Of course, this can look very different in different cul¬ 
tures, but all Social Threes need signs that they are valued by their 
peers. (A Social Three in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand would 
need to know that he was meditating well—being a model monk!) 
Degrees, job descriptions, resumes, good grades, and awards are im¬ 
portant to them because they are strongly identified with their social 
roles. (“I am what I do.”) They want to have the right pedigree, the 
right credentials. This instinct can also express itself in the cultivation 
of professional jargon and dress, as well as the flaunting of brand 
names, designer fashions, and expensive cars, Again, however, what a 



TYPE THREE: THE 


ACHIEVER 


I 5 9 


particular Three will find importanr as an indicator of social value will 
vary from culture to culture and from Three to Three. 

As anxiety escalates, Social Threes increasingly feel the need to 
prove themselves. They can become highly driven in their social ambi¬ 
tions: constantly networking, giving out cards, and making connec¬ 
tions. They may also desire fame as a way to compensate for early 
narcissistic wounds. (“If a million people buy my CD, I must be pretty 
great!”) Narcissism can also lead to compulsive social comparison and 
competition—keeping up with the Joneses. As they become more in¬ 
secure, Social Threes are prone to bragging, relentless self-promotion, 
and exaggeration of their abilities. This is especially true if Social 
Threes have not succeeded in achieving their idea of success. 

In the unhealthy range, Social Threes are desperate for attention and 
can become dishonest in their pursuit of recognition. They may falsify 
their accomplishments and background both to get work and to impress. 
Often they illustrate the Peter Principle—getting into situations that 
they are not qualified to deal with. Their emotional distress renders them 
highly ineffective, but as much as possible, they will use charm or ex¬ 
ploitation to prevent others from seeing their true condition. 


THE SEXUAL INSTINCT IN THE THREE 

The Catch. In the average range, Sexual Threes are characterized by 
a powerful desire to be desired. This is not just sexual desirability, but an 
overall drive to be valued and wanted. They work at developing an ap¬ 
pealing, alluring image, striving to become the ideal of their gender and 
cultural milieu, and they often enjoy helping others maximize their at¬ 
tractiveness as well. Sexual Threes want to be the kind of person that their 
love interest would want to show off to his or her friends. Whether male 
or female, they tend to cultivate whatever personal qualities they feel will 
get others interested in them. Sexual Threes desire to impress by dazzling. 
They can be seductive, but unlike Twos, who seduce by lavishing atten¬ 
tion on the other, Threes seduce by drawing attention to their own ex¬ 
ceptional qualities. In some cases, this can lead to ambitions to become a 
movie star, a teen idol, or a fashion model. In contemporary American 
culture, this type often devotes much time and energy to working out at 
the gym, to careful grooming, or to finding the right look. 

Sexual Threes often know how to attract mates, but they may not 
know how to sustain relationships. They constantly fear that they will 
not be able to live up to the image they are projecting. As Sexual types, 
they possess a strong desire for intimacy, but as Threes, they fear deep 
emotional connection. They may attempt to achieve emotional inti¬ 
macy through sexual connection, but in the lower Levels, fears of their 



I 6 0 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


THE THREE’S 
CHALLENGES TO 
GROWTH 

▲ 


"Discovering real goodness 
comes from appreciating very 
simple experiences. We are not 
talking about how good it feels to 
make a million dollars or finally 
graduate from college or buy a 
new house, but we are speaking 
here of the basic goodness of 
being alive.” 

Chogyam Trungpa 


own undesirability will cause them to reject even people they deeply 
care about. In some cases, they may use sexual conquests to dispel fears 
of being unattractive. Less healthy Sexual Threes also tend to be exhi¬ 
bitionists—wanting to display themselves either to seduce others or to 
reassure themselves that they are attractive and valued. 

In the unhealthy Levels, Sexual Threes can become caught up in 
promiscuity. Underneath the surface, they are extremely vulnerable but 
tend to strike out at others who question their value in any way. Slights to 
their narcissism, real or imagined, can lead to vindictiveness, sexual rage, 
and jealousy, often out of all proportion to their actual disappointment. 


Most Threes will encounter the following issues at some point in 
their lives. Noticing these patterns, “catching ourselves in the act,” 
and simply seeing our underlying habitual responses to life will do 
much to release us from the negative aspects of our type. 


THE WAKE-UP CALL FOR TYPE THREE: MY VALUE 
DEPENDS ON MY SUCCESS 

Most of us think from time to time, “If I could just achieve that— 
if I just had these credentials, or if I just married this particular person, 
or if I could go to medical school—then I would know that I am 
worthwhile, I would have value, and then I would feel okay about my¬ 
self.” For Threes, this has become the driving force of their lives. Threes 
start to equate their own personal value with their level of success, and 
this is their Wake-up Call. 

Success can mean many different things—in monetary terms, it 
can mean making millions of dollars a year or saving enough for a new 
washer-dryer. Average Threes are intensely interested in success and are 
determined to distinguish themselves through professional achieve¬ 
ment and by possessing a variety of status symbols. These can run the 
gamut from a prestigious address, to a diploma from a major univer¬ 
sity, to an athletic trophy, to an expensive watch or car, or to having at¬ 
tractive, high-achieving children—anything that makes the statement 
“I am an outstanding person.” 

Jarvis, whom we met earlier, describes his intense focus on achieve¬ 
ment—and his awareness of what it is costing him. 

My viewpoint is focused on being successful and avoiding failure no 
matter what the situation—working, social situations, hobbies, having 

fun, relaxing, jogging, reading, listening to music_My preoccupation 

with success means that I have to work consciously at enjoyment and 



Key Terms: 


i 

| 

i Level Inncr-Directed 

1 Authentic 

E 

A 

j 

Level Adaptable 

2 | Admirable I 

T 

i 

H ; | 

y | Level Goal-Oriented 
j 3 Self-Improving 


Threes let go of the belief that their value is dependent on the positive re¬ 
gard of others, thus freeing them to discover their true identity and their 
own heart’s desire. Their Basic Desire is also achieved, and they feel valu¬ 
able and worthwhile. They become self-accepting, genuine, and benevo¬ 
lent. 

Threes are attuned to what others value, and adapt themselves to become 
a person who would be more valuable. Self-image: “I am outstanding, ca¬ 
pable, and well-adjusted (unlimited potential).” 

Threes reinforce their self-image by developing themselves and their tal¬ 
ents. They are competent, confident, and persistent, becoming exemplary 
in whatever they do. Effective communicators, they are often popular role 
models and inspirations for others. 


A 

V 

E 

R 

A 

G 

E 

Level 

4 

Level 

5 

Level 

6 

Success- 

Oriented 

Performing 

Image- 

Conscious 

Expedient 

Self-Promoting 

Grandiose 

Threes begin to fear that they will be overshadowed by the accomplish¬ 
ments of others—that their efforts will not bring them the attention they 
desire. Thus they need to distinguish themselves from others by over¬ 
achieving. They continually drive themselves to achieve more. 

Threes worry that they will lose the positive regard of others, so they wish 
to impress people. They strive to cultivate what they believe will be the 
most attractive image possible. Ambitious but self-doubting, they want to 
be admired and desired. They typically have intimacy problems. 

Threes are afraid that others will not notice them unless they are hugely 
successful or outstanding; thus, they try to convince themselves and others 
of the reality of their grandiose claims. They are self-promoting, competi¬ 
tive, and arrogant as a defense against secret neediness. 




Threes fear that they are failing and that their claims may be empty and 

U 

Level 

Unprincipled 

fraudulent, which may be true. To save their self-image, they begin to de- 


7 

Deceptive 

ceive themselves and others, saying whatever will impress people or get 

IM 



them off the hook. Inside, they feel empty and depressed. 

H 



Unhealthy Threes have become so desperate for attention that they will 

E 

Level 

Duplicitous 

concoct any story or scheme in order to cover over their deterioration. They 


8 

Opportunistic 

do not want anyone to know how troubled they are and are willing to go 

A 


* 

to great lengths to keep their emotional illness and misdeeds hidden. 

L 


• 

Unhealthy Threes feel that there is nothing they can do to win the positive 

T 

Level 


attention of the people whose approval they need, and may lose control of 


9 


their repressed hostility and rage. They may seek revenge on real or imag- 

H 



ined tormentors, attempting to bring down whoever they feel has rejected 

Y 



them. 











I 6 2 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


at appreciating beauty. I find it unnatural to “let go and let flow.” 

There’s no guarantee of success emanating from that framework! 

To borrow a phrase from the recovery movement, Threes are always 
in danger of becoming “human doings” instead of “human beings.” 
The reason for their compulsive behavior is their need to repress and 
renounce any hint of shame that they may feel. To lose in any way, on 
any scale, is potentially to trigger these intolerable feelings of worth¬ 
lessness. Thus, the more shame Threes feel, the more they will be 
driven to achieve goals that they believe will make them valuable and 
successful. 


WHOSE GOALS? WHOSE SUCCESS? 


What does success mean to you? What did it mean to your parents? What does it mean to your peers? 
Any connections? 


The Social Role: “The Best” 


“I can do this better thati 
anyone else. ” 


Feeling that their value depends on shining brightly enough to be 
noticed, Threes begin to believe that they must always shine, that they 
must always be outstanding. Thus they begin to play the Social Role of 
the Best (or Golden Boy or Golden Girl) and eventually can only re¬ 
late to others comfortably in this role. Seeing themselves as the Best 
compensates for their hidden insecurities about their worth. Not only 
will average Threes defend their self-image, but like other types, they 
will try in various ways to reinforce it and to get others to support it. 
Naturally, needing to be the Best does not allow Threes the luxury of 
ever being average—and seeing themselves (or allowing anyone else to 
see them) as a failure of any kind is out of the question. 

Tawney is a bright, talented woman, happily married with chil¬ 
dren. She has learned to embrace many of her true qualities, but she 
still recalls what it was like to be driven by her Social Role. 


I can hardly remember a time in my life that I didn’t feel the need to 
be "the best." To be the most beautiful, have the best clothes, live in 
the grandest home—the list goes on and on. The problem I faced 
every day in my pursuit of "the best” was that it shifted with every 
person I interacted with. It made no difference who I was with. I 
wanted them to see me in the best possible light, which was my in¬ 
terpretation of who they would most desire—an exhausting process. 
I always looked outside of myself for validation that I was “okay.” 





TYPE THREE: THE 


ACHIEVER 


I 6 3 


The Social Role of being the Best is related to Threes’ role as Family 
Hero. They are set up to find self-esteem by meeting the expectations 
and requirements of others, even if those requirements are not explicitly 
stated. But this is always a losing game in the long run because the re¬ 
quirements can change on a dime: standards of success or beauty can go 
out of vogue, and an accident of some sort can completely reverse the 
winner-loser scorecard. Judged from this point of view, a heart attack or 
a stroke can change a “successful” person into a “failure” overnight. 


WHEN DO YOU GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK? 


Identify and write down five areas in your life in which you do not feel compelled to be the best. Identify 
and write down five areas in your life in which you do feel that you must be the best. Read your two lists 
and see what you can notice about how they make you feel.What differences in your state can you detect? 
In your tensions or relaxation? In feeling calm or anxious? Think of five more areas where you could learn 
to relax and just be you. 


Deceit, Vanity, and Validation 

The Threes Passion is deceit. One aspect of the Three’s deceit is the 
tendency to present themselves in a way that does not reflect their au¬ 
thentic self. An even more important aspect is their self-deception: in 
order to maintain their external performance, Threes must convince 
themselves that they actually are the idealized image that they project 
to the world. At the same time, they must also repress their feelings of 
inadequacy to keep the self-deception going. They fear that if they were 

to drop their image, other people would see their deficits and reject “I've got it all together,” 
them—confirming their worthlessness. 

Thus, deceit leads Threes to look to others for validation of their ex¬ 
cellence and is the reason why they must constantly give themselves in¬ 
ternal pep talks. In a sense, Threes must lie to themselves to keep up their 
self-esteem and to motivate themselves toward greater achievement. 

(“You’re great! A genius! Nobody has ever written a better report!”) 

Another useful way to think of deceit is to see it as the result of 
“sloth in real self-development.” Average Threes put their energy into 
perfecting their ego self, their self-image, rather than into discovering 
their true self, because they believe that the ego is the real self. It is 
much more difficult to develop the authentic qualities of Essence when 
we are encouraged and rewarded at every turn to adapt and become 
what others expect us to be. 







I 6 4 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Performance and Being Out of Touch with Feelings 

Since Threes want to stand out from the crowd, they give a great 
deal of attention to their “performance” in all senses of the word—pro¬ 
fessional, physical, academic, social. They present themselves to others 
as someone who has it all together, with a cool, effortless mastery. The 
problem is that as they become more identified with their image, aver¬ 
age Threes must repress any personal feelings since feelings interfere 
with the smoothness of their performance. Since they are rewarded for 
functioning, feelings—especially painful ones—need to be resisted. 

Tawney recalls one of the most significant moments of her early 
life, the moment when she realized that she needed to suppress herself 
and please her mother to survive. 

The most significant experience I can recall as a child was of a fight 
that I witnessed between my older brother—who was about ten at 
the time—and my mother. My memory is of her, in a rage, yelling and 
throwing all of his possessions into a heap in the middle of the floor. 

I do not know if she physically struck him. It doesn’t matter. I was ter¬ 
rified of her and chose then, out of fear, to do or be whatever she 
told me to do or be. I spent the next thirty years living the results of 
that moment. 

“Feelings are like speed The typical result is that Threes become “achievement machines.” 

bumps—they just slow me But because their activities do not come from the heart, their perfor- 

down.” mance is increasingly joyless and inauthentic. Despite the fact that 

Threes usually do things well, they do not find much personal satisfac¬ 
tion in the work itself. Nevertheless, their work cannot be abandoned 
since that is the principal way that Threes have to gain favorable atten¬ 
tion and feel valuable. A driven workaholism can begin and devour 
whatever little emotional freedom and joy they still have left. 

The only desire that less healthy Threes can identify in themselves 
is to become a “star” of some kind. Because they are looking for a big, 
outstanding public payoff, they may squander whatever genuine talents 
they do possess, jumping from one opportunity to another. The nar¬ 
cissistic neediness at the root of their activities often strikes others as 
embarrassing and sad (or. questionable and obnoxious, depending on 
how relentlessly the Threes are promoting themselves). In any case, 
being so out of touch with themselves and their own feelings begins to 
backfire in many different ways. 



TYPE THREE: THE ACHIEVER 


I 6 5 


REAWAKENING YOUR HEART 


Place your hand on your chest, right over your heart, and take a few deep breaths. Let your attention 
sense this area of your body. Let it go into this space. What do you experience? Remember that there is no 
right answer—there is nothing that you are supposed to experience.Whatever you find or do not find is your 
experience. Stay with whatever sensations you find in your heart "space,” and note how they change over 
time. Return to this practice at least once a day. 


Competition and Driving Oneself 

Average Threes may start getting into subtle competitions of all 
kinds: who is the most successful at work, or who has the best-looking 
spouse or smartest children, or who is the best in sports or computers 
or chess, and so forth. The principal way that their self-esteem can be 
bolstered is by ivinning the comparison (and the overt competition, if 
there is one).Unfortunately for Threes, their quest for superiority can 
become exhausting and can undermine the very things they want to 
achieve. 

Threes begin to engage in competitions nor because they really want 
to do them but because they fear being overshadowed by someone else. 
They fear that they will fall behind and that others will get more atten¬ 
tion and be in more demand than they. They then push themselves to do 
even more—a great waste of time and energy. (“I’ve been working really 
hard on my piano recital, but Mary Lou sounds really great on that 
Chopin piece. I better pick a more difficult piece to perform.”) 

Not only do average Threes compete with their peers, they may 
begin to introduce competitiveness into relationships in which it does 
not belong and can be highly destructive, such as parents competing 
with their children, or spouses with one another. Ironically, despite 
their competitiveness, they tend to seek recognition and affirmation 
from the very people they want to outshine. 

Lynn, a successful personal coach and business consultant, under¬ 
stands this well. 

If you know the children’s story “The Little Engine That Could,” you 
know how it feels to be inside my dynamo personality type. Everything 
I have ever committed time and energy to doing, I’ve done from a com¬ 
petitive, striving, goal-oriented stance. Performing everything as close 
to perfect as possible has fueled my existence since I was potty-trained 
at eleven months.The fuel motivating my driving force has been the 
fear of not being outstanding, the fear of failing.To fail means death, 
swallowed up by a black hole. It’s to be avoided at all costs. 






I 6 6 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


DRIVING YOURSELF 


In your Inner Work Journal, explore the following questions: In what ways do you see yourself as success- 
driven and competitive? Why do you hold the goals that you are pursuing? Have you ever gotten into pro¬ 
jects that you were not really interested in because of the need to excel or compete? What do you think 
would happen if you “took your foot off the accelerator” a little bit? How do you deal with the fear or anx¬ 
iety that comes up when you compare yourself to someone else? How do you feel about your competitors? 
How have you handled or reframed your own failures? 


Image and Self-Presentation 


“Without wearing any mask 
we are conscious of, we have a 
special face for each friend." 

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. 


Even from their earliest childhood years, Threes have the capacity 
to adapt themselves to others in order to present an attractive image. In 
the average range, this can show up either as a forced enthusiasm or as 
a professional cool that seems to project the message, “Eve got it all to¬ 
gether.” The worlds of advertising, marketing, sales, and fashion fre¬ 
quently promote these images, worlds that seem to be populated by 
more than their share ofThrees. Many politicians, coaches, human po¬ 
tential gurus, and businesspeople have tuned in to this aspect of the 
Three personality style, particularly their innate talent for reading a sit¬ 
uation and being able instinctively to come up with what is expected. 
Threes can walk into a room and sense the undercurrents between peo¬ 
ple and know instantly how to act. 

As Threes are repeatedly rewarded for this ability, they become so 
practiced at adjusting themselves that they lose touch with their au¬ 
thentic self. Their private sense of self thus remains undeveloped and 
largely out of reach, such that average-to-unhealthy Threes often do 
not know who they are or what they are feeling apart from their image. 
Rather than express what they actually think or feel, they say and do 
whatever they sense will be acceptable. 

If their image is successful and others applaud it, an entirely new 
and much more dangerous condition arises. Having a successful image 
affirms the Three’s performance, not his or her own core identity. The 
more successful their image is, the more tempting it is for Threes to 
continue to rely on it and to develop it rather than themselves. The re¬ 
sult is that their own heart is pushed aside and forgotten. Who they re¬ 
ally are becomes more and more unknown territory, something they do 
not want to focus on because when they look inward, they feel an 
emptiness, a big, black hole. 







TYPE 


THREE: 


THE 


ACHIEVER 


I 6 7 


MEETING EXPECTATIONS 


What image are you projecting to others right now? to yourself? at the office? to your social friends? to 
your parents? to your children? to your pets? Are they the same or different? How do you see yourself as 
opposed to how you believe others see you? In what specific ways is your self-image different, do you think, 
from the image you project to others? How do you know? Has the disparity gotten you into conflicts with 
others or caused problems for you in some way? 


Packaging the Self as a Commodity 

When Threes feel insecure, they protect themselves by managing 
their image even more closely. Much of their behavior becomes what 
amounts to a public relations game. They begin to feel that how they are 
perceived is everything. Rather than devote their energies to the devel¬ 
opment of their genuine talents, they allocate their resources to manag- 

ing others’ impressions of them. Trying to find a winning formula, they “ 7 can be an y thi fg 1 want 
will do, say, or be whatever will further their goals or save them from po- to be " 

tential humiliation, whether they display (false) modesty, apparent 
agreement accompanied by conciliatory attitudes—or the opposite. 

Feeling that they must put their best foot forward all the time is an 
enormous strain; it is as if they were perpetually on a job interview. 

Others can only imagine the anxiety and self-doubt that Threes must 
suppress in order to keep functioning. They are constantly afraid of 
saying or doing the wrong thing. No moment can be unguarded, so 
they can never be truly spontaneous or self-revealing lest they be 
laughed at, questioned, or perceived in a less-than-favorable light. 

The problem is that Threes treat themselves as a commodity.. (“I 
have to ‘sell’ myself to people.”) As we have seen, Threes as children 
were often an extension of someone else’s narcissistic needs. They 
learned that their authentic feelings and needs do not count; they exist 
only as an object to be admired and desired. The pain of this is so great 
that Threes must disconnect from their hearts. It is the heart alone, 
though, that enables us to discern truth, so when we detach from the 
heart, we detach from our connection with truth. Truth then also be¬ 
comes a shifting commodity, whatever works at the moment. 

This relentless self-adjustment and detachment causes Threes and 
their intimates much suffering, as Arthur, a hard-working minister, relates. 

I’ve been so competitive in work that I have thought myself better than 
others and have come across as arrogant and distant. I’ve gone flat emo¬ 
tionally at home and either get impatient with my wife for not being 
there for me or simply am so remote that it's as if she weren’t really 






THE 


WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


I 6 8 


there. I’ve worried excessively about what “they” think of me without 
defining who “they” are—I discovered several years ago that I’d dress 
for work in the morning to impress a nebulous group of downtown 
professionals I didn’t even know or come into contact with! 


ADJUSTING YOURSELF 


Notice when you are adjusting yourself to your surroundings. How many times do you do this in a day? 
Observe the differences between your self-presentations with your friends, your coworkers, your family, and 
so forth. Notice when certain intonations or rhythms creep into your speech patterns. When you notice 
these self-adjustments, what effect do they have on your own groundedness? On your connection with your 
heart? When you adjust yourself, do you feel more or less valuable? 


Fear of Intimacy 

As long as Threes are trying to convince themselves and others that 
they have it all together, they cannot allow others to get too intimate 
with them. Closeness will allow others to see that they actually do not 
have it all together, that they are not the person they seem to be. 
Privately, average Threes are aware that there is a disparity between who 
they are and what they show to the world, but they are terrified of let¬ 
ting anyone see this gap. They fear that someone else is going to rec¬ 
ognize how lonely, empty, and worthless they actually feel, thus 
reinforcing their hidden insecurities about themselves. The closer oth¬ 
ers get, the more they fear that others will see through the facade to the 
chinks in their armor and reject them. Rather than risk rejection, they 
will typically try to pull themselves together and achieve more so that 
others will be satisfied with them (that is, their image) and not ques¬ 
tion or threaten the relationship. 

To keep people at a safe distance—and yet retain their attention 
and good regard—average Threes cultivate a kind of professional 
friendliness or an energetic perkiness that substitutes for real intimacy 
and connection. They may even keep a certain degree of distance from 
their spouse because of their fear of intimacy. From the outside, their 
marriage may look perfect, yet to their spouse real intimacy and emo¬ 
tional connection are missing. Threes typically want the image of a suc¬ 
cessful relationship rather than the substance of a real one, especially if 
intimacy means risking being vulnerable or needy, or being rejected for 
not fulfilling the other person’s needs. 







TYPE THREE: THE 


ACHIEVER 


I 6 9 


LETTING OTHERS SEE YOU 


Share something vulnerable about yourself with someone you trust. As you do so, focus on the actual 
feeling of the vulnerability. Is it unpleasant? What is it like? How does it make you feel in relation to the other 
person? What are you afraid to let them see? 


Narcissism and Showing Off 

The more unhealthy a Three s childhood environment has been, the 
more their sense of value will have been wounded, and the more difficult 
it will be for them to find and hold on to genuine feelings of self-worth. 

They will be forced to search for these things in the approval and accep¬ 
tance of others, and yet the approval and acceptance they receive never 
makes them feel valued and worthwhile. Narcissistic damage usually 
manifests itself in overcompensation—in other words, in showing off. 

Depending on the depth of their narcissistic wounding, average “What do I have to do to 
Threes may develop grandiose expectations of themselves. Being impress you?” 

merely successful is not enough: they need to be famous or important 
in some way—“big stars”—who are known and celebrated for some¬ 
thing. Of course, this only sets Threes up for frequent disappointments 
and feelings of being humiliated. 

Threes may also become seductive and engage in prowling for sexual 
conquests to bolster their self-esteem. They often groom themselves in at¬ 
tention-getting ways, but then react with hostility or feigned indifference 
if someone actually does admire them or seek them out. (“I want you to 
look at me, but I am not going to acknowledge you.”) They worry about 
their reputation as well as about how the people in their lives reflect on 
them. Not only must they be attractive and desirable, but so must their 
spouse and children, their friends and even their pets—although, ideally, 
others must not be more attractive and desirable than they. 

Tawney recalls: 

At the times in my life when I felt the most isolated, I worked the 
hardest to be “fabulous.” I remember being rail thin, with perfect nails 
(fake, of course), perfectly applied makeup, fashionable, expensive 
clothing, dripping with diamonds and fur (real, of course). 1 remem¬ 
ber people looking at me with awe, and I felt nothing. I have realized 
that when I am that disconnected from myself, I rarely have memo¬ 
ries to go back to. I think what helped me to get out of that state was 
the recognition that I had no recollection of it. I have almost no 
memory of my wedding day,for instance.The effort to piece together 
my past was what helped me reconnect with myself. 






I 7 0 


THE WISDOM OF THE E NNEAGRAM 


LETTING PEOPLE DISCOVERYOU 


When you are with others in social settings, focus first on their lives and accomplishments. Find out what 
is interesting about them. Notice how this gives them the opportunity to be curious about you without you 
needing to impress them up front. Consider that others might like you without you. needing to impress 
them. How does that possibility make you feel? 


REACTING TO 
STRESS: 

THREE GOES TO 
NINE 


Under increased stress, the coping mechanisms of average Threes 
may break down, leading them to act out some of the qualities of av- 
erage-to-unhealthy Nines. Threes are highly focused, driven to achieve, 
and identified with what they do, so going to Nine serves as a shut¬ 
down from their relentless pursuit of success. 

Because Threes are so eager to make their mark and prove them¬ 
selves, they inevitably create stresses and conflicts in their relationships 
with others. At such times, they may slow down, becoming more diplo¬ 
matic and accommodating like average Nines. Threes at Nine will still 
want to stand out from the pack, but not too much. They lower their 
profiles and try to blend in with others. 

As we have seen, their quest for success can often lead Threes into 
situations where they are compelled to do things that hold no real in¬ 
terest for them. While they may be able to handle this for limited pe¬ 
riods, a longer stretch or even an entire career or relationship that is not 
based on a Three’s true desires will cause them to become disengaged 
and dissociated like Nines. Rather than being efficient, they fill their 
time with busywork and routines, hoping to persevere through difficult 
situations without being affected by them. Although Threes are usually 
quick and effective in handling tasks and in responding to others, stress 
causes them to become strangely unresponsive and complacent. 

Experiencing failures or major setbacks in their careers can be par¬ 
ticularly devastating to Threes. During such intervals, Threes become 
disillusioned with life and with themselves. Their underlying emptiness 
breaks through, and they appear apathetic and burned-out. Rather 
than using their industriousness to improve their situation, they tend 
to avoid the realities of their problems and waste their time indulging 
in wishful thinking and fantasies of their next big success. 


THE RED FLAG: 
THE THREE IN 
TROUBLE 


If Threes have suffered a serious crisis without adequate support 
or coping skills, or if they have suffered from chronic abuse in child¬ 
hood. they may cross the shock point into the unhealthy aspects of 
their type. 

A setback that severely damages a Three’s self-confidence may lead 
them to the fearful recognition that their life has been built on a weak 







TYPE 


THREE: THE 


ACHIEVER 


[ 7 I 


or even a false foundation. They may fear that they are actually failing, 
or that their successes are meaningless, or that their claims about them¬ 
selves are fraudulent. Some of these fears may be based on fact. If the 
Three can recognize the truth in these fears, they may begin to turn 
their life around and move toward health and liberation. On the other 
hand, they may try even harder to hold on to their illusions of superi¬ 
ority and attempt to deny that they are suffering or even having any 
problems. (“No problem herel I’m doing fine.” “I’ll do whatever it takes 
to get ahead.”) IfThrees persist in this attitude, they may cross into the 
unhealthy Levels of Development. If you or someone you know is ex¬ 
hibiting the following warning signs for an extended period of time— 
more than two or three weeks—getting counseling, therapy, or other 
support is highly advisable. 


WARNING SIGNS 

POTENTIAL PATHOLOGY: 
Narcissistic Personality Dis¬ 
order, hypertension, depres¬ 
sion (often anhedonic), 
narcissistic rage and vindic¬ 
tiveness, psychopathic be¬ 
havior 


► Physical exhaustion and burnout from relentless workaholism 

► Increasingly false self-image, dishonesty, and deceptiveness 

► Lack of feelings and inner emptiness 

► Concealing the degree of their emotional distress 

► Jealousy and unrealistic expectations of success 

► Exploitation and opportunism 

► Severe episodes of rage and hostility 


► First and foremost, learn to recognize when you are “turning it on” 
for someone—when you are becoming your image instead of speaking 
and acting authentically. You may even notice yourself falling into this 
image when no one else is around! While there may not be anything 
wrong with the persona you have constructed and you may even want to 
use it from time to time, awareness alone will give you the ability to choose 
when to employ it. Without awareness, you serve your image. 

► Like Eights and Ones, you would really benefit from giving your¬ 
self a break once in a while and taking time to relax. As a Three, you are 
not the quickest at noticing that you are getting too stressed, and it some¬ 
times takes a major health or relationship problem to get you to notice 
that you are overextending yourself. Stop and take deep breaths periodi¬ 
cally during the day and take a few moments from your projects to check 
in with yourself. Are you anxious? Lonely? Angry? Overwhelmed? These 
breaks may seem like they are slowing you down, but in the long run, 


PRACTICES THAT 
HELP THREES 
DEVELOP 

A 





I 7 2 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


they will do much to maintain your emotional and physical well-being 
and are likely to help you accomplish your tasks with greater ease. 

► Seek out people you trust with whom you can share your anxi¬ 
eties and vulnerabilities. Threes usually have no trouble finding pals, 
and they may spend time with friends on a regular basis, but that is not 
the same as finding some safe people to address what makes you feel 
vulnerable or hurt or afraid. Look for people who seem able to do this 
themselves, and realize that you don’t have to talk about everything all 
at once. Just revealing small things about the way you feel can help you 
to open up in a way that feels safe. (A good psychotherapist can also be 
extremely helpful in this regard.) Also, contrary to your beliefs, reveal¬ 
ing some of your vulnerability to healthy friends will endear you to 
them—not disappoint them. 

► Threes really benefit from creativity, especially when the cre¬ 
ativity is for themselves and not an audience of some kind. Painting, 
making pottery, playing music, writing or drawing, and journaling can 
help you get in touch with your feelings and bring you into greater 
alignment with yourself. You may even want to create a sacred space in 
your home that is devoted solely to your creativity and self-discovery. 
No work-related tasks are allowed here! It is your refuge from the de¬ 
mands in your life, especially the demands you make on yourself. 

► You are a type that can especially benefit from meditation, al¬ 
though you are one of the types least likely to meditate. Sitting around 
“doing nothing” doesn’t make much sense to your task-driven ego, but 
it makes a lot of sense to your soul. And meditating is far from doing 
nothing. In fact, short of child rearing, it is probably the greatest chal¬ 
lenge that you will ever face. To be able to simply be is a major human 
accomplishment, but it is especially an accomplishment for Threes. If 
it seems difficult at first, use your discipline and persist—Threes usu¬ 
ally make breakthroughs suddenly and in big ways. 

► Find areas in your life where you can be of service as part of a 
team, but not as the head of the team! Learning to cooperate and work 
with others without needing to be the center of attention is not easy for 
Threes, but it brings enormous and unexpected satisfaction. You might 
try volunteer work at a local hospital, school, or retirement home. You 
may well be surprised at what arises in you while working with oth¬ 
ers—not only in terms of the relatedness that such efforts bring, but 
also in what it does for your feelings about yourself. You may find a 
tremendous sense of self-worth that you never dreamed possible. 



TYPE THREE: THE 


ACHIEVER 


I 7 3 


Healthy Threes are blessed with genuine self-esteem as opposed to 
inflated narcissism. They have a realistic and deeply felt appreciation of 
themselves and their lives that gives them confidence as well as a 
healthy sense of their possibilities. We could say that healthy Threes 
possess a balanced love of self, which also enables them to love others 
freely and without agenda. This love of self is not easily disturbed or 
threatened, because it is based on a truthful assessment of their genuine 
capacities, as well as a respect for their limitations. It almost goes with¬ 
out saying that others immensely enjoy and profit from the company 
of a person with these admirable qualities. 

Because of their genuine self-esteem. Threes understand the value 
of investing in themselves and their own development: they are ambi¬ 
tious, confident, and persistent, take care of themselves physically, and 
make it their business to learn about themselves and how to manage 
their affairs better. They are always trying to find ways to enhance and 
improve their lives and to teach others how to develop themselves. 

“Self-investing” can be literally spending money, time, and energy 
on themselves, without being self-centered or narcissistic about it. 
Healthy self-investment is necessary if anyone is to achieve something 
worthwhile in life—we must get a good education, set our own prior¬ 
ities, and not get deflected from our goals. Threes really apply them¬ 
selves to developing whatever qualities they have. 

Besides investing in their own talents, healthy Threes help others 
to be their best; they use their ability to excite and motivate people to 
achieve more than they thought they could. Threes who are nurses, 
doctors, teachers, or therapists can have an electrifying effect on their 
students and clients by the force of their own example. A physical ther¬ 
apist can motivate a physically challenged child on whom others have 
given up hope to walk again, a music teacher can inspire her students 
to outdo themselves, a coach can give his team the gift of the pleasure 
of knowing that they have achieved their best. 

Healthy Threes also use their talents and presentation skills to ad¬ 
vance worthy causes. As a result, they often become outstanding role 
models in their fields of endeavor. Many corporations and organiza¬ 
tions employ healthy Threes to represent them. They are good com¬ 
municators and promoters, and they know how to present something 
in a way that is attractive, appealing, and inspiring. They can be highly 
effective at building morale and community spirit. 

Eve is a lovely and gracious corporate coach: 

Most days I love being a Three because I get so much stuff done. I re¬ 
cently approached a new job in the same way. I went about motivating 
my staff to make them feel like they are really part of a winning team. I 
also was able to get five of my staff pay raises. Now they are so loyal to 


BUILDING ON 
THE THREE’S 
STRENGTHS 

▲ 


“I enjoy being me. 



174 THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

me that they'd walk over hot coals.They think I’m the best, which feels 
great! I love being able to motivate people to do their best 

High-functioning Threes are self-accepting and inner-directed— 
everything they seem to be. They model an honesty, simplicity, and au¬ 
thenticity that is extremely inspiring to others. High-functioning 
Threes see themselves realistically, accepting their limitations and ap¬ 
preciating their talents without taking themselves too seriously. They 
are tender, touchingly genuine, and affectionate—truly admirable peo¬ 
ple who enjoy the admiration they receive, but do not need it. 

Having overcome much of the narcissistic wounding she experi¬ 
enced in early life has led Lynn to feel completely differently about her¬ 
self and others. 

I’m imbued with a presence or inner glow that radiates out to oth¬ 
ers. It is magnetic, drawing people to me without my having to per¬ 
form or achieve anything. One person recently asked "Do you always 
glow like this?” I feel transcendent and at the same time very human 
and grounded. 

Threes, like healthy Sixes, become actualized and remain healthy 
by learning to commit to others and to goals that transcend their per¬ 
sonal interest. This shifts their focus from the need to sustain a self- 
image to the real desire to support the development of something larger 
than themselves. Integrating Threes begin to find a sense of real self¬ 
esteem in ways they could never have anticipated. Further, as they in¬ 
teract cooperatively with others, both in their careers and in their 
relationships, they begin to discover the courage and sense of inner 
guidance of the healthy Six, which enables them to reveal more of their 
authentic qualities. Communication becomes simple, sincere, and di¬ 
rect—there is no need to dazzle people. 

No matter how hard they work, Threes’ search for validation 
through the pursuit of goals not dictated by their own hearts never 
seems to pay off. To their surprise, however, Threes find deep satisfac¬ 
tion and feelings of worth in the selfless acts and shared responsibilities 
that arise through honoring their heartfelt commitments. They find 
themselves deeply touched by what they create with others, seeing the 
beauty and goodness of what they have done, regardless of the acclaim 
they may or may not have received for their actions. In such moments, 
without any self-reflection, Threes begin to experience their true iden¬ 
tity and value. 

Average Threes tend to feel like soloists—capable of motivating 
others and generating team spirit, but essentially experiencing them- 


THE PATH OF 
INTEGRATION: 
THREE GOES TO 
SIX 

▲ 



TYPE THREE: THE ACHIEVER 


I 7 S 


selves as alone. The burden of being the Family Hero did not allow 
them to reach out for support or comfort—the hero is not allowed to 
need too much help. But as Threes integrate to Six, they start to rec¬ 
ognize and take in the support that is available in their lives, and they 
have the courage to ask for it when they need it. Doing so usually 
brings intense fears of inadequacy and of disappointing others. (“If 
they knew how I really feel, they’d all abandon me.’’) But as Threes 
learn to build solid relationships with select others, based on trust and 
mutual respect in the manner of healthy Sixes, they begin to make the 
more powerful journey of finding their own inner guidance and sup¬ 
port. 

Of course, Threes will not be well served by attempting to imitate 
the traits of an average Six. Overcommitting themselves and attempt¬ 
ing to build up their identity and security through various affiliations 
will only reinforce their preoccupation with self-image and perfor¬ 
mance. But as Threes begin to let go of their identification with their 
performance, the endurance, heartfelt commitment, and courage of the 
healthy Six naturally unfold in them. 


To liberate themselves, Threes must let go of their belief that their 
value is dependent on the positive regard of others. Only then can they 
begin to become inner-directed and authentic. This is a difficult path 
for Threes, although a very direct one. At first, they encounter only the 
empty, blank feeling in the heart space, but gradually, with patience and 
compassion, they are able to open to the hurt and shame underneath it. 
As this suffering is seen, healed, and released, and without noticing 
quite when or how the change occurred, they gradually realize that they 
are quite different people than they had imagined. Free from the burden 
of dancing to the expectations of others, Threes find the tremendous 
freedom and lightness of pursuing their own heart’s desire. 

Threes must understand very clearly that the mask must come off, 
and the feelings of emptiness inside must be acknowledged if healing is 
to take place. The saving gra :e is, of course, that there is no real inner 
emptiness to the Essential self. When the mask is dropped, the appar¬ 
ent emptiness is filled from the inside. It is as if the mask itself exerted 
a pressure that kept the true self repressed: once the mask is removed, 
the real self cannot help but reveal itself. Rather than discover that they 
are empty and valueless, Threes will find that they are simply less de¬ 
veloped in certain areas (while the many areas in which they are already 
highly evolved remain). It takes courage and ideally the support of a 
spouse, good friend, therapist, or minister for a Three to embark on 
this journey of self-revelation. 

Tawney tells what a difference it can make. 


TRANSFORMING 
PERSONALITY 
INTO ESSENCE 



I 7 6 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


The difference now is that I am making choices for myself based on 
what I truly need and not on what will make me more "desirable.” I 
have stopped needing to be “the best” for anyone but myself. I am able 
to express emotions freely without worrying what others may think 
of me, and give myself permission to look however I want to without 
judging myself. I feel softer somehow. For most of my life, I radiated my 
personality type—I was a typical Three.Today, its just me. 

When Threes are willing to risk losing the approval of others to follow 
their own heart, they can become the outstanding individuals they have al¬ 
ways wished to be. Whatever love and admiration is given to them pene¬ 
trates deeply into their souls, allowing a beautiful new garden to spring up. 
A therapist in her later life, Marie has learned this important secret. 

My whole identity was caught up in doing and, of course, succeeding. 
Until I learned how to just be, there was little hope of honesty or 

genuineness_I was always quick, competent, and capable. I still am, 

but now it isn’t so important to me that I do well. It is more impor¬ 
tant that I be true to what has real value for me. 

Once their center of gravity has shifted from outside themselves to 
inside themselves, the feeling of being truly guided by their hearts is 
like no other they have ever experienced before. Once they have tasted 
it, they are not likely to trade again for anything. 


THE EMERGENCE OF ESSENCE 

When they are able to reconnect with their hearts, healthy Threes 
model the Essential gift of authenticity like no other type. Their behav¬ 
ior becomes genuine, not trying to be more or less than they really are. 
They become simple and available, revealing their true selves with hon¬ 
esty and humility. 

Authenticity is not about being brutally honest. Authenticity 
means manifesting who you are in the moment. When Threes are pres¬ 
ent, they are simple and able to speak the truth that comes directly 
from their hearts. At first glance, this may not seem like much of an 
achievement, but if we think about it, we realize how rarely we present 
ourselves to others in this way. 

As Threes learn to embrace their authenticity, their Essential qual¬ 
ity begins to arise. It is difficult to speak about, not because it is so ab¬ 
stract but because it is so fundamental to our existence that we tend to 
be blind to it. Perhaps the best word for it is value —the fact that we are 
valuable because we exist. 



TYPE THREE: THE ACHIEVER 


I 7 7 


This idea flies in the face of popular culture, which insists that we 
are valuable only if we have a certain income or certain physical quali¬ 
ties or are of a certain age or professional background. But all of these 
more superficial understandings of value are substitutes created by the 
personality that is out of touch with the ground of its Being, the source 
of all real value. 

If we stop to consider it, it is we who imbue the things that we 
value with value. Perhaps being an actor gives us our self-esteem. Yet for 
another person, this same career might seem pointless or trivial. Their 
self-esteem might depend on having a certain amount of money in the 
bank. Not only do values vary from person to person, but they also 
change in the course of our own lives. Obviously, the one common 
thread in all of this is us. In effect, we project our own Essential value 
onto a job or a person or a thing or an activity and then try to get the 
sense of value back by having that thing. But it never quite works. 

When we contact our Essential value, however, we know that it is 
an intrinsic part of our true nature. We cannot be without value, we 
can only forget that it is there. All of the pains, humiliations, and prob¬ 
lems of life do nothing to diminish the Essential value of a person; at 
most, they only modify the person and give him or her an opportunity 
for further expansion, acceptance, and understanding. -Thus, when 
Threes are able to perceive their Essential value directly, they become 
freed from the ego’s relentless pursuit of self-esteem through achieve¬ 
ment. This affords them the time and space to live with a greatness of 
spirit, a life of love, richness, and wonder. 


Add your scores 


for the fifteen 

► 15 You are probably not an assertive type 

statements . for 

(not a Three, Seven, or Eight). 

Type Three. Your 

► 15-30 You are probably not a Type Three. 

result will be be- 

► 30—45 You most probably have Three-issues 

tween ,15 and 75. 

or a Three parent. 

The following 

► 45-60 You most likely have a Three-compo- 

guidelines may 

nent. 

help you discover 

► 60-75 You are most likely a Three (but could 

or confirm your 

still be another type if you are think- 

personality type. 

ing too narrowly about Type Three). 


Threes are most 
likely to 
misidentify 
themselves as 
Fives, Ones, and 
Eights. Eights, 
Sevens, and 
Nines are most 
likely to 
misidentify 
themselves as 
Tlnees. 







CHAPTER 10 



THE ARTIST 


THE ROMANTIC 


THE MELANCHOLIC 


THE AESTHETE 


THE TRAGIC VICTIM 


THE SPECIAL ONE 


▼ 

TYPE FOUR: 

THE 

INDIVIDUALIST 


All art is a kind ofconfession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to 
survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story, to vomit the anguish up. ” 

—James Baldwin 


After all, perhaps the greatness of art lies in the perpetual tension between 
beauty and pain, the love of men and the madness of creation, unbearable 
solitude atid the exhausting crowd, rejection and consent. ” 

—Albert Camus 


"Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the pow¬ 
ers of the mind. ” 

—Marcel Proust 


"It is better to drink of deep griefs than to taste shallow pleasures. ” 

—William Hazlitt 


“It takes a genius to whine appealingly. ” 

—F. Scott Fitzgerald 



1. Many people see me as enigmatic, difficult, and contradic¬ 
tory—and I like that about myself! 


THE 

RISO-HUDSON 

TAS 


2. I tend to brood over my negative feelings for a long time 
before getting free of them. 

3. I often feel alone and lonely, even when I’m around people 
I’m close to. 

4. If I’m criticized or misunderstood, I tend to withdraw and 
sulk. 

5. I find it difficult to get involved with projects if I don’t have 
creative control. 

6. I tend not to follow rules or to go along with expectations 
because I want to put my own special touch on whatever I 
do. 

7. By most standards, I’m fairly dramatic and temperamental. 

8. I tend to spend quite a bit of time imagining scenes and 
conversations that haven’t necessarily happened. 


Type 

Attitude 

Sorter 


Score each of the follow¬ 
ing statements according 
to how true or applicable 
to you it is on the follow¬ 
ing scale: 

1 . Not at All True 


9. I long for someone to rescue me and sweep me away from 
all of this dreary mess. 


2 . Seldom True 


10. When things get tough, I tend to crumble and give up— 
perhaps I give up too easily. 

11. I can forgive almost anything except bad taste. 

12. Generally, I don’t enjoy working too closely with others. 


3 . Somewhat True 

4 . Generally True 

5 . Very True 


13. Finding myself and being true to my emotional needs have 
been extremely important motivations for me. 


14. I don’t like either to take the lead or to be a follower. 

15. I am acutely aware of my intuitions, whether or not I have 
the courage to act on them. 


See page 205for 
scoring key. 








I 8 0 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


PERSONALITY 


► BASIC FEAR: Of having 
no identity, no personal 
significance 

► BASIC DESIRE: To find 
themselves and their sig¬ 
nificance, to create an 
identity out of their 
inner experience 

► SUPEREGO MESSAGE: 
“You are good or okay if 
you are true to yourself.” 


TYPE FOUR: THE INDIVIDUALIST 


The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: 

Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Tempermental 

We have named this type the Individualist because Fours maintain 
their identity by seeing themselves as fundamentally different from 
others. Fours feel that they are unlike other human beings and, conse¬ 
quently, that no one can understand them or love them adequately. 
They often see themselves as uniquely talented, possessing special, one- 
of-a-kind gifts, but also as uniquely disadvantaged or flawed. More 
than any other type, Fours are acutely aware of and focused on their 
personal differences and deficiencies. 

Healthy Fours are honest with themselves: they own all of their 
feelings and can look at their motives, contradictions, and emotional 
conflicts without denying or whitewashing them. They may not neces¬ 
sarily like what they discover, but they do not try to rationalize their 
states; nor do they try to hide them from themselves or others. They 
are not afraid to see themselves warts and all. Healthy Fours are willing 
to reveal highly personal and potentially shameful things about them¬ 
selves because they are determined to understand the truth of their 
experience—so that they can discover who they are and come to terms 
with their emotional history. This ability also enables Fours to endure 
suffering with a quiet strength. Their familiarity with their own darker 
nature makes it easier for them to process painful experiences that 
might overwhelm other types. 

Nevertheless, Fours often report that they feel they are missing 
something in themselves, although they may have difficulty identifying 
exactly what that something is. Is it willpower? Social ease? Self- 
confidence? Emotional tranquillity?—all of which they see in others, 
seemingly in abundance. Given time and sufficient perspective, Fours 
generally recognize that they are unsure about aspects of their self- 
image —their personality or ego structure itself. They feel that they lack 
a clear and stable identity, particularly a social persona that they feel 
comfortable with. 

While it is true that Fours often feel different from others, they do 
not really want to be alone. They may feel socially awkward or self- 
conscious, but they deeply wish to connect with people who under¬ 
stand them and their feelings. The “romantics” of the Enneagram, they 
long for someone to come into their lives and appreciate the secret self 
that they have privately nurtured and hidden from the world. If, over 
time, such validation remains out of reach, Fours begin to build their 



TYPE 


FOUR: THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


I 8 I 


identity around how unlike everyone else they are. The outsider therefore 
comforts herself by becoming an insistent individualist: everything 
must be done on her own, in her own way, on her own terms. Fours’ 
mantra becomes “I am myself. Nobody understands me. I am different 
and special,” while they secretly wish they could enjoy the easiness and 
confidence that others seem to enjoy. 

Fours typically have problems with a negative self-image and 
chronically low self-esteem. They attempt to compensate for this by 
cultivating a Fantasy Self—an idealized self-image that is built up pri¬ 
marily in their imaginations. A Four we know shared with us that he 
spent most of his spare time listening to classical music while fantasiz¬ 
ing about being a great concert pianist—a la Vladimir Horowitz. 
Unfortunately, his commitment to practicing fell far short of his fanta¬ 
sized self-image, and he was often embarrassed when people asked him 
to play for them. His actual abilities, while not poor, became sources of 
shame. 

In the course of their lives, Fours may try several different identi¬ 
ties on for size, basing them on styles, preferences, or qualities they 
find attractive in others. But underneath the surface, they still feel 
uncertain about who they really are. The problem is that they base 
their identity largely on their feelings. When Fours look inward, they 
see a kaleidoscopic, ever-shifting pattern of emotional reactions. 
Indeed, Fours accurately perceive a truth about human nature—that 
it is dynamic and ever changing. But because they want to create a sta¬ 
ble, reliable identity from their emotions, they attempt to cultivate 
only certain feelings while rejecting others. Some feelings are seen as 
“me,” while others are “not me.” By attempting to hold on to and 
express specific moods, Fours believe that they are being true to them¬ 
selves. 

One of the biggest challenges Fours face is learning to let go of feel¬ 
ings from the past; they tend to nurse wounds and hold on to negative 
feelings about those who have hurt them. Indeed, Fours can become so 
attached to longing and disappointment that they are unable to recog¬ 
nize the many treasures in their lives. 

Leigh is a working mother who has struggled with these difficult 
feelings for many years. 

I collapse when I am out in the world. I have had a trail of relation¬ 
ship disasters. I have hated my sister’s goodness—and hated good¬ 
ness in general. I went years without joy in my life, just pretending to 
smile because real smiles would not come to me. I have had a con¬ 
stant longing for whatever I cannot have. My longings can never 
become fulfilled because I now realize that I am attached to “the 
longing” and not to any specific end result. 



18 2 T 


Please note that the child¬ 
hood pattern we are 
describing here does not 
cause the personality type. 
Rather, it describes ten¬ 
dencies that we observe in 
early childhood that have 
a major impact on the 
type’s adult relationships. 


HE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

There is a Sufi story that relates to this, about an old dog that had 
been badly abused and was near starvation. One day the dog found a 
bone, carried it to a safe spot, and started gnawing away. The dog was 
so hungry that it chewed on the bone for a long time and got every last 
bit of nourishment that it could out of it. After some time, a kind old 
man noticed the dog and its pathetic scrap and began quietly setting 
food out for it. But the poor hound was so attached to its bone that it 
refused to let go of it and soon starved to death. 

Fours are in the same predicament. As long as they believe that 
there is something fundamentally wrong with them, they cannot allow 
themselves to experience or enjoy their many good qualities. To 
acknowledge their good qualities would be to lose their sense of iden¬ 
tity (as a suffering victim) and to be without a relatively consistent per¬ 
sonal identity (their Basic Fear). Fours grow by learning to see that 
much of their story is not true—or at least it is not true anymore. The 
old feelings begin to fall away once they stop telling themselves their 
old tale: it is irrelevant to who they are right now. 


THE CHILDHOOD PATTERN 

Fours feel that they are not like their parents. Many Fours report 
fantasizing that they were mistakenly switched at the hospital, or that 
they are orphans or some kind of changeling. They often express this as 
feeling that they have not been “seen” by their parents, that they did not 
connect sufficiently with their parents or their parents with them. In 
psychological terms, Fours feel that they have not had adequate mirror¬ 
ing, or at least the mirroring of actual qualities and talents that they can 
make part of their developing identity. (In family systems theory, Fours 
tend to identify with the Lost Child role.) 

The result is that Fours believe that something must be profoundly 
wrong with them, launching them on a lifelong “search for self.” They 
feel “If I am not like my parents and I cannot see myself in them, then 
who am I?” This also predisposes Fours to focus on what they lack—on 
what is missing in themselves, their lives, and their relationships. They 
feel abandoned and misunderstood by their parents and, later, by other 
significant people. 

Hannah works as an administrator in a university. She is a well¬ 
loved wife and mother but still suffers periodically from her type’s feel¬ 
ings of alienation. 

I learned very early on not to depend on my mother, to play by 
myself and seek my own solutions. My father, ambivalent about hav¬ 
ing children in the first place, began traveling a lot when I was in grade 
school, so I experienced more abandonment. 




TYPE 


FOUR: THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


I 8 3 


As a result of this pattern, Fours respond powerfully to people who 
trigger their desire for mirroring, for being seen and appreciated for 
who they are. On the most profound level, Fours are always looking for 
the mother and father they feel they did not have. They may idealize 
these others as “saviors” who will rescue them from their plight. But 
just as easily. Fours can become disappointed and enraged with others 
for letting them down or for not adequately seeing their personal strug¬ 
gles and suffering. The other is seen as the source of love, goodness, and 
beauty—qualities that Fours usually believe they lack—setting the 
stage both for expectations of being completed by the other and for ter¬ 
rifying fears of abandonment. People who do not fit into one of these 
scenarios tend to be of little interest to average Fours; it is as if those 
who do not produce strong emotional responses in them are somehow 
less real. 

Because they have doubts about their identity, they tend to play 
“hide and seek” with others—hiding from people, but hoping that 
their absence will be noticed. Fours attempt to remain mysterious and 
intriguing enough to attract someone who will notice them and redeem 
them with their love. But self-concealment and self-revelation alternate 
and can be expressed with such extremes of intensity and need that 
Fours inadvertently drive the longed-for rescuer away. Until they can 
recognize,this pattern and see the unrealistic expectations they put on 
their intimates, Fours run the risk of alienating others with their emo¬ 
tional demands. 


THE FOUR WITH A THREE-WING: THE ARISTOCRAT 

Healthy People of this subtype combine creativity and ambition, 
the desire for self-improvement and an eye toward achieving goals, 
often involving their personal advancement. They are more sociable 
than people of the other subtype and want to be both successful and 
distinctive. They feel the need to communicate themselves and their 
creative efforts to others, and so they care both about finding the right 
mode of expression and about avoiding anything off-putting or in bad 
taste. They create with an audience in mind. 

Average These people are more self-conscious and aware of issues 
regarding their self-worth and how they are coming across to others 
than people of the other subtype. They want recognition for themselves 
and their work, and they typically put more effort into everything hav¬ 
ing to do with their self-presentation and related matters. They are 
more practical, but also more extravagant—loving refinement, culture, 
and sophistication—typically seeing themselves as high class, elegant, 
and concerned with social acceptance. They can be competitive and 


THE WING 
SUBTYPES 


Examples 

Jeremy Irons 
Jackie Onassis 
Tennessee Williams 
Judy Garland 
Vivien Leigh 
Sarah McLachlan 
The Artist (Formerly 
Known as "Prince") 
Martha Graham 
"Blanche DuBois” 



I 8 4 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


disdainful of others; grandiosity and narcissism are expressed more 
openly and directly. 


Examples THE FOUR WITH A FIVE-WING: THE BOHEMIAN 


Bob Dylan 
Anne Rice 
Allen Ginsberg 
Alanis Morrisette 
Edgar Allan Poe 
Johnny Depp 
Sylvia Plath 
James Dean 
Ingmar Bergman 


Healthy People of this subtype tend to be extremely creative, 
combining emotionality and introspection with perceptiveness and 
originality. Less concerned with acceptance and status than the other 
subtype, they are highly personal and idiosyncratic in their self-expres¬ 
sion, creating more for themselves than for an audience. They enjoy the 
process of creativity and discovery more than that of presentation and 
are highly exploratory. For better or worse, they are usually defiant of 
convention and authority, breaking the rules whenever self-expression 
is'an issue. 

Average More introverted and socially withdrawn than the other 
subtype, these Fours tend to dwell more exclusively in their imagina¬ 
tions. The real world is less interesting to them than the inner land¬ 
scapes they create for themselves. They are attracted to the exotic, the 
mysterious, and the symbolic, and their personal style is often eccentric 
and unusual. People of this subtype prefer downbeat scenes, choosing 
a minimalistic lifestyle. They can be intensely private, often seeing 
themselves as rebellious outsiders. They may have brilliant flashes of 
insight, but they have trouble sustaining practical efforts in the real 
world. 


THE 

INSTINCTUAL 

VARIANTS 


THE SELF-PRESERVATION INSTINCT IN THE FOUR 

The Sensualist. In the average range, Self-Preservation Fours 
tend to be the most practical and materialistic kind of Fours. They love 
the finer things of life and want to surround themselves with beautiful 
objects. They relate strongly to the sensuality of the material world and 
enjoy cultivating a “nest” filled with items that have both aesthetic 
appeal and emotional resonance. Thus, Self-Preservation Fours are 
often moved by the presentation and symbolism of gifts and enjoy pre¬ 
senting gifts to others, such as a rose for their beloved. They also tend 
to be the most introverted Fours; having comfortable, aesthetic sur¬ 
roundings supports them during periods of social isolation. They tend 
to be very particular, even obsessive, about their physical surroundings, 
wanting soothing textures, mood lighting, and a comfortable tempera¬ 
ture. 

Eventually, their desire for emotional intensity begins to interfere 
with basic life functioning. They often develop a throw-caution-to-the- 



TYPE 


FOUR: THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


I 8 5 


winds attitude that comes from the excitement of being on a tempo¬ 
rary emotional high of some sort. At the other extreme, they tend to be 
self-indulgent in an attempt to soothe emotional lows. In either case, 
they typically allow emotional whims to dictate their behavior. Self- 
Preservation Fours may attempt to maintain a rarefied lifestyle at the 
expense of their security and physical well-being (buying expensive 
items when the rent is not quite covered). They (like Sevens) can 
become frustrated divas, craving rich foods and luxury. They frequently 
fall into poor eating habits and-health routines, staying up late watch¬ 
ing movies, listening to music, drinking, and eating to excess, as if to 
say, “What difference does it make?” Self-indulgent habits become 
compensations for an unlived life. 

In the unhealthy range, Self-Preservation Fours are highly suscepti¬ 
ble to alcoholism and drug abuse. They are attracted to situations that 
undermine the stability of their lives, even to danger—"like the proverbial 
moth to the flame-—involving themselves in illicit love affairs or other 
destructive relationships. Similarly, they can be extremely irresponsible, 
showing a total disregard of their livelihood, or even of the need to have 
a livelihood. Feeling emotionally overwhelmed, they may not bother to 
show up at their job or to pay their bills. Long-term self-destructive 
behavior through drug abuse and personal neglect is common. 


THE SOCIAL INSTINCT IN THE FOUR 

The Outsider. In the average range, of the three Instinctual 
Variants ofType Four, Social Fours most see themselves as unlike oth¬ 
ers, as being totally unique. They experience their uniqueness as both 
the gift they bring to others and the burden they must bear. Not sur¬ 
prisingly, Social Fours also tend to be the most socially active and 
engaged Fours. They long to be involved with others and to be part of 
the social world, but they often feel that they do not know how. Like 
Threes, they constantly compare themselves with others, although 
always feeling that they come up short. They desire to be among the 
beautiful, the glamorous, and the elite, yet they doubt that they are 
really up to it. 

Feelings of shame in social settings eventually lead Social Fours to 
believe that they do not know how to function like normal people. 
They envy the happiness of others, while rejecting them as crude and 
insensitive. They frequently adopt a glamorous, exotic image to cover 
over their social insecurities. Many Social Fours become attracted to 
alternative lifestyle groups to compensate. (“I’ll seek solace with the 
other outsiders.” Beatniks in the 1950s or the Gothic rock subculture 
in the 1980s and 1990s are examples of this.) 



186 THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

Some Social Fours may aggressively pursue success as a compensa¬ 
tion for their nagging feelings of inadequacy. (“They won’t make fun of 
me now!”) They react strongly to any statements about themselves, 
often sifting through past conversations for any hints of a slight. 
Ironically, they may both defend their defects and feel disadvantaged by 
them. (“Of course I’m aloof around such coarseness and selfishness— 
but still I do wish someone loved me!”) 

In the unhealthy range, fear of rejection can lead Social Fours to 
withdraw almost completely from involvement with others. Shame and 
expectations of humiliation become so pervasive that they do not want 
to risk being seen. At the same time, their insecurities render them 
unable to work in any consistent way. As a result, Social Fours often 
become extremely dependent on family, friends, or a significant other. 
Isolation along with fantasies of achievement may cause unhealthy 
Social Fours to waste their lives. 


THE SEXUAL INSTINCT IN THE FOUR 

Infatuation. In the average range, Sexual Fours most exemplify 
the romanticism, intensity, and longing for a rescuer that characterize 
this type. They can be sweetly vulnerable and impressionable, but also 
aggressive and dynamic, especially in their self-expression. There is an 
assertive, seemingly extroverted component to Sexual Fours, and unlike 
the other two variants, they are unlikely to let their romantic fantasies 
remain fantasies for long. Often turbulent and stormy, their emotional 
lives revolve around the person they are attracted to. Intense feelings of 
admiration, longing, and hatred for the object of desire can all coexist. 
Sensual and seductive,' they can also be jealous and possessive like Twos, 
and they want to be the only person that matters in the other’s life. 
Sexual Fours often have severe doubts about their own desirability, so 
they strive for accomplishments that will make them acceptable to the 
other—being a great artist or star—while being resentful of those who 
achieve those things. 

Envy is also most clearly visible in this variant. Relationship prob¬ 
lems arise because Sexual Fours often become romantically involved 
with people who have qualities that Fours admire or want in them¬ 
selves, but then end up envying and resenting the loved one for hav¬ 
ing these very qualities. Idealizing the other can quickly shift to 
rejecting them for their slightest flaws. At the same time. Sexual Fours 
are often attracted to people who are, for one reason or another, 
unavailable. They may spend a great deal of time longing to have the 
desirable other to themselves and detesting anyone who has the other’s 
attention. 



TYPE 


FOUR: THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


In the unhealthy range, intense envy of others can lead to a desire to 
sabotage them in order to get revenge. Unhealthy Sexual Fours uncon¬ 
sciously live by the adage “misery loves company.” (“If I’m going to suf¬ 
fer, so are you.”) Sexual Fours may create competitions and rivalries and 
feel completely justified in undoing their opponents or in hurting those 
who have disappointed them. (Salieri’s envy of Mozart comes to mind, 
for example.) They are prone to rapid shifts in their feelings toward oth¬ 
ers, even toward their protectors and loved ones. Their emotional chaos 
may lead them to rash acts of violence against themselves or the people 
they believe have frustrated their emotional needs. 

Most Fours will encounter the following issues at some point 
in their lives. Noticing these patterns, “catching ourselves in the 
act,” and simply seeing our underlying habitual responses to life 
will do much to release us from the negative aspects of our type. 


THE WAKE-UP CALL FOR TYPE FOUR: USING THE 
IMAGINATION TO INTENSIFY FEELINGS 

Fours base their identity on their internal feeling states (“I am what 
I feel”), so they tend to check in on their feelings more than the other 
types. (Usually Fours are more attuned to their emotional reactions to 
an experience than to the experience itself.) 

But the one sure thing about feelings is that they always change. 
This presents a problem. If their identity is based on feelings, and their 
feelings are always changing, then their identity is always changing. The 
way Fours resolve this problem is to cultivate certain feelings that they 
identify with while rejecting others that are not as familiar or “true.” 

Rather than allowing the spontaneous arising of their feelings in 
response to the moment, Fours fantasize about people, events, and sce¬ 
narios that stir up emotions they feel reflect their identity, even if the 
feelings that arise are negative or painful. Whatever the feelings might 
be, Fours try to intensify them to bolster their sense of self. For exam¬ 
ple, they may select musical pieces that trigger powerful associations for 
them—such as songs that remind them of a lost lover—playing them 
over and over to maintain their old feelings, or at least some intense feel¬ 
ing state. 

When Fours start trying to create and sustain moods—in a sense, 
trying to manipulate their feelings—they are going in the wrong direc¬ 
tion. All of this leads Fours into the ultimately self-defeating habit of 
living in their imagination rather than in the real world. 

Beverly was a beautiful airline attendant when she was younger; she 
met many men in her travels but resisted getting involved with anyone. 


I 8 7 


THE FOUR’S 
CHALLENGES TO 
GROWTH 


“It’s terribly amusing how many 
different climates of feeling one 
can go through in a day.” 

Anne Morrow Lindbergh 





Key Terms: 

Fours let go of the belief that they are more flawed than others and are thus 

H 

Level 


freed from their self-absorption. Their Basic Desire, to find themselves and 

E 

Life-Em bracing 

their significance, is also achieved and thus their problems with their iden- 


1 

Life-tnhancing 

city and its stability are solved. They arc self-renewing, redemptive, and 

A 



revelatory. 

L 

Level 

Introspective 

Fours focus on their own feelings and preferences to establish a clear sense 

T 

H 

2 

Sensitive 

of personal identity. Self-image: “I am sensitive, different, and self-aware.” 
Fours reinforce their self-image by expressing their individuality through 

Level 

Self-Revealing 

creative action. They are eloquent and subtle, exploring their feelings and 

Y 

3 

Creative 

impressions and finding ways of sharing them with others. Their creativity 
is highly personal but often has universal implications. 




Fours begin to fear that their changing feelings will not sustain them and 


Level 


their creativity, so they use their imaginations to prolong and intensify their 

A 

4 

Individualistic 

moods. They use fantasy and style to bolster their individuality and begin 

V 



to dream of someone who will rescue them. 


Level 

Self-Absorbed 

Temperamental 

Fours worry that others will not recognize or appreciate them and their 


uniqueness, so they play hard to get—testing others to see if they are really 

R 


interested in them. Aloof, self-conscious, and melancholy, they believe that 

A 



their fragility will attract a rescuer and keep others away. 

Fours fear that life’s demands will force them to give up their dreams, and 

G 

Level 

6 

Self-Indulgent 

Decadent 

they despair that they will never be rescued. They feel they are missing out 

E 

on life and envy the stability of others, so they exempt themselves from “the 
rules,” becoming sensual, pretentious, and unproductive. 



U Fours fear chat they are wasting their lives, and this may be true. To save 

Level Hateful their self-image, they reject everyone and everything that does not support 
N 7 Alienated their view of themselves or their emotional demands. Their repressed rage 
H results in depression, apathy, and constant fatigue. 

g j Fours have become so desperate to be the individual of their fantasies that 

Level Self-Rejecting t p ie y h ate everything about themselves that does not correspond to it. They 
A y loathe themselves and hate others for failing to save them. They may sabo- 

i j tage whatever good is left in their lives. 


I The realization that they have wasted their lives pursuing futile fantasies is 
Despairing , too nluc h f or unhealthy Fours. They may attempt to elicit rescue through 
Life-Denying | self-destructive behavior or simply end their lives to escape their negative 
j self-consciousness. In some cases, they may commit crimes of passion. 







TYPE 


FOUR: THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


I 8 9 


Since I flew the Atlantic route to Paris, it would have been easy to 
connect with lots of men. After the meal service was over, there was 
time to talk with people, and some flirting helped pass the time. But 
I would rather sit alone in the back of the plane and think about 
someone on board or someone I had seen in the airport than talk 
with someone who would probably just disappoint me anyway. I 
could fall in love, have sex, get married, imagine the house and chil¬ 
dren we’d have, and so on—all during the flight.Then I wouldn’t have 
to deal with disappointment and having the relationship end. 


RECOGNIZING THE “SIREN’S CALL” OF FANTASY 


Fours fear that if their emotions are not sufficiently intense, their creativity and even their identity will 
disappear. Observe yourself during the day to see if you can feel this process of using your imagination to 
stir up how you feel. Pay attention to your fantasies, daydreams, and self-talk: What are they reinforcing? 
What purpose do they serve? Do you believe that some feelings are more “you" than others are? What is 
your personal "baseline mood” most of the time? How do you react if you are spontaneously not in that 
mood? Notice any tendency to run a commentary on your feelings and experiences, as if asking yourself, 
“What does this experience mean about me?” 

Every time you find yourself fantasizing, especially about potential romance, sexual encounters, or becom¬ 
ing your “idealized" self, you are moving deeper into the trance of Type Four. 


The Social Role: The Special One 

Average Fours insist on being themselves and on putting their per¬ 
sonal stamp on everything. Increasingly, their self-image becomes 
based on how unlike other people they are. (Their superego message to 
“be true to themselves” is more and more intensely heard as they 
become more entranced.) Similarly, the moods that Fours get into are 
often in marked contrast to their surroundings. (“If others are happy, 
I feel sad. If others feel sad, I feel like giggling.”) Maintaining feelings 
unlike those of others reinforces a Four’s identity. Thus their charac¬ 
teristic Social Role is the Special One, or the Mysterious Outsider, and 
they feel ill at ease unless they are interacting with others from this 
role. 

Ironically, the more Fours insist on being different, the more they 
paint themselves into a corner, depriving themselves of many potential 
sources of satisfaction. Fours need to understand that if they insist on 
being unique and different, it is likely that they will overlook or reject 
many of their positive qualities simply because they resemble the qual¬ 
ities of others, especially in their families. Thus, they unwittingly create 






I 9 0 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


a negative identity: “I am not like that.” “I could never work in an office 
job.” “I would never wear polyester.” “I wouldn’t be found dead in 
Kmart.” They do not understand that “being oneself” does not require 
effort since they cannot help but be themselves. When Fours stop try¬ 
ing so hard to “be themselves,” they find the freedom to discover the 
beauty of what they really have to offer. 

“No one understands me. ” Riva, a gifted visual artist, traces this problem to her childhood. 

As a child, my world was pretty self-enclosed. I didn’t share myself 
easily or reach out. I felt like an outsider and felt rejected—maybe 
because of how I looked, or talked, or the fact that I’m smart and 
Jewish. I don’t know. While part of me longed to be “normal” and 
have fun, I started to pride myself on being “special” and more sensi¬ 
tive, more mature and insightful, understanding things on a deeper 
level. I started to feel like a little adult among my childhood peers. So 
the inferiority-superiority split began early. 

Taken too far, the desire to “be themselves” can lead Fours to feel 
that the rules and expectations of ordinary life do not apply to them. 
(“I do what I want to do when and how 1 want to do it.”) Thus they 
can be privately grandiose, imagining that, because of their great, 
undiscovered talent, they deserve to be treated better than ordinary 
people. They feel exempt from the laws of society, dismissive of rules 
and regulations, and contemptuous of any constraints, particularly 
regarding their feelings. 

Consequently, Fours begin to view many normal aspects of life, 
such as earning a living or being regular in their work habits, as imped¬ 
iments to their search for self. They want to be free to follow their 
moods and imagination wherever they take them, although they often 
end up waiting months (or years) for inspiration to strike. The truth 
may be that they are unproductively frittering their lives away. Riva 
continues: 

My sense of entitlement comes from thinking of myself as superior 
and unusually sensitive, so I shouldn’t be expected to do what mere 
mortals have to do, especially when it’s aesthetically distasteful. But 
my sense of entitlement also has to do with feeling just the opposite 
about myself—that I am inferior and incapacitated in some way, to¬ 
tally cut off from the everyday abilities that most people take for 
granted—like holding down a regular job, for instance, or having a 
steady, satisfying relationship! 



TYPE 


FOUR: THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


I 9 I 


BEING DIFFERENT VS. BEING CONNECTED 


While it is true that we are all individuals—precious in our own right—it is also true that we share a 
great deal with other human beings. Notice your tendency to automatically focus on your differences with 
people.What does this cost you in terms of your connectedness with others? Does it prevent you from tak¬ 
ing up activities that might be beneficial to you? 


Envy and Negative Comparisons 


Like all of the Passions (or “Capital Sins”), envy develops as a par¬ 
ticular response to the loss of connection with the Essential self. But, 
unlike many of the types, Fours retain some degree of awareness of this 
loss of contact with their Essence. They also feel that they alone have 
experienced this loss. As children, their other family members and their 
friends seemed to them to be more complete and valued more ade¬ 
quately, while they perceived themselves to have been ignored. The 
results are chronic loneliness, intense longings to be included, and envy 
of those who are. 

Cass, an actress with a distinguished career, shares some of the feel¬ 
ings that defined her childhood experience. 


"What a wonderful life I’ve 
had! T only wish I'd realized it 
sooner.” 

Colette 


I was two years old when my younger sister was born, and she 
became the center of attention. I felt left out, and my vision of life was 
as an outsider, the lonely child looking through the window of a 
house full of light and laughter. At school, I was bullied and isolated, 
so I became studious, but that just made me feel more different. I 
always envied other girls who had fair hair and blue eyes and hated 
my brown hair and brown eyes. My father was cold and aloof and 
used to say,“You don’t know what you want and won't be happy until 
you get it!” 

As adults, envy causes Fours to see everyone as stable and normal 
while feeling that they are flawed or, at best, unfinished. In effect, their 
complaint is that they are not as well disguised as others, that everyone 
can sense their nakedness and vulnerability, and they feel ashamed of 
themselves. Other people seem to like themselves, have self-esteem, 
know how to present themselves, and go after what they want in life. 
Others seem to be spontaneous, happy, unself-conscious, and lively—all 
the things that Fours feel they are not. They brood about their condi¬ 
tion, while enviously longing for the social ease that others seem to 
enjoy. 

Leigh, whom we met earlier, recalls: 

t 






“I do what I want to do 
when I want to do it. ” 


HE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

I felt so separate. I could see all the other girls having fun and rela¬ 
tionships with one another, and I didn’t have a clue how to be a part 
of it As a result, I often had a feeling of being isolated and different— 
set apart. I didn’t feel superior, just painfully different with no way— 
absolutely no possibility—of being a part of the group, the fun, the 
contact, the friendships—you name it. 

Although envy may at times consume Fours, they are usually 
ashamed of it and attempt to hide it as much as possible. Often they 
cover over their envy with an attitude of aloofness and distance. They 
alternate between wanting to express their distress so that others will 
know how much they have disappointed them, and periods of with¬ 
holding their thoughts and feelings. (“I won’t give them the satisfac¬ 
tion!”) Many Fours resolve this issue by expressing their dark feelings 
indirectly, through works of art or through allusions. One Four we know 
frequently communicated his feelings to his girlfriend through cassette 
tapes with mixes of songs that contained hidden messages to her. 

Fours often get caught up in negative comparisons and negative 
feelings because of their tendency to imagine the reactions of others 
rather than check with them to find out what they are actually think¬ 
ing. Envy sets them up to be disappointed with themselves and to pro¬ 
ject this disappointment onto others, anticipating negative reviews 
from people even when these people are fond of them. Thus, envious 
Fours can spend many hours in melancholic fantasies, wrapping them¬ 
selves in a shroud of sadness, feeling vulnerable, hurt, and misunder¬ 
stood by the world—often unnecessarily. 

Reinforcing Moods Through Aesthetics and Sensuality 

Fours maintain their moods by cultivating an environment that 
supports the feelings they identify with. Thus, they are often drawn to 
the aesthetic and exotic, surrounding themselves with beautiful objects, 
music, lighting, textures, and scents that both mirror their individual¬ 
ity and intensify their feelings. Atmosphere, style, and being “tasteful” 
become of paramount importance. They are extremely particular about 
their surroundings and the objects they use. They must have just the 
right pen, only the exact shade of paint for the bedroom will do, and. 
the fabric of the curtains and how they hang must be just so, or else 
average Fours feel ill at ease and off-balance. 

Left unchecked, the desire to sustain more moods, even negative 
ones, may cause Fours to turn to destructive habits that become diffi¬ 
cult to break. If they are losing hope that they will ever have a steady 
and meaningful relationship, for instance, they may attempt to succor 
themselves with substitute pleasures: episodes of anonymous sex, a 



TYPE 


FOUR: 


THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


I 9 3 


devotion to pornography, drinking, drug abuse, or staying up all night 
to watch old films on television. The many self-indulgences and 
exemptions Fours give themselves weaken them further. Nicholas is a 
■ writer who has been depressed for many years. 


I tend to be both too easy on myself and too hard. I have been too 
self-indulgent, and as soon as anything painful or difficult appears, I 
tend to give up and take the easy way out by sleeping too much, or 
going on a drinking binge. But that behavior quickly leads to self¬ 
disgust and big-time guilt. I had a couple of chapters to write in a 
book several years ago, but rather than just get into it, I couldn’t bring 
myself to face the typewriter, so I drank and watched television and 
rented movies until I just about made myself sick.Then when I had 
“bottomed out" in a way, I pulled myself together and started work¬ 
ing again. It seems like I almost need to create a crisis for myself. 


“INTERIOR DECORATING” 


Take some time to examine your home environment, your workplace, and your wardrobe.What are your 
favorite “props”? What do you use to “create atmosphere”? How attached are you to that atmosphere? Are 
there specific things you do to “get yourself into a mood” to work? To talk with people? To relax? To exer¬ 
cise or to meditate? 


Withdrawal into a Fantasy Self 

The types of the Feeling Triad all create a self-image that they 
believe is preferable to their authentic self. While the self-images of 
Types Two and Three are more on display, Fours create an internalized 
self-image we have called the Fantasy Self. 

As we mentioned before, average Fours spend their time dreaming 
about their talents and the masterworks they will create instead of 
actually developing their real skills. Of course, not all of the average 
Four’s self-image exists in their imagination—part of it will be tested 
with trusted others. But even when Fours reveal some aspects of their 
inner identity, they keep most of their Fantasy Self to themselves. 

While the Fantasy Self gives a Four an occasional persona, it is usu¬ 
ally largely unrelated to their actual talents and therefore tends to invite 
ridicule and rejection. The Fantasy Self tends to be grandiose in pro¬ 
portion to the depth of the Four’s emotional damage: they may see 
themselves as almost magical creatures, and others as highly ordinary or 
even inferior. Their Fantasy Self is usually based on idealized qualities 







I 9 4 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


that would be virtually impossible for them to attain, even with hard 
work and self-discipline. The Fantasy Self is thus of its very nature 
unattainable and is inextricably linked with the Four’s rejection of his 
‘7 have a secret self that or her own real qualities or capacities. 

no one knows.” When Fours become deeply identified with their Fantasy 

Self, they tend to repel any kind of interference with their lifestyle 
choices, interpreting suggestions from others as unwelcome intrusive¬ 
ness or heavy-handed pressure. When called on for practical action, 
they feel that they are not up to it and tend to postpone or avoid 
social contacts and professional deadlines for as long as possible. They 
respond to any questioning of their behavior with disdain, anger, 
and “hurt feelings.” They crave more attention and support but have 
great difficulty taking in the attention and support that is available 
to them. 

Riva comments: 

It's always been hard for me to reach out beyond myself. It’s hard for 
me to ask for what I need. On the one hand, I expect people (as I 
exp.ected my mother) to read my mind. On the other hand, I don’t 
expect my needs to be met, and don't expect people to care enough 
to want to help me—since my needs weren’t met in my childhood. 

So I learned to use my fragility, my hypersensitivity, to manipulate my 
parents into doing things for me so that I wouldn’t have to take 
responsibility for myself, for my own mistakes. 


ACTUALIZING YOUR REAL TALENTS 

What qualities do you fantasize about having? Of these qualities, notice which ones you might actually be 
able to develop. For instance, it is true that music requires some talent, but none of that talent will be real¬ 
ized if you do not develop it through practice and discipline. Similarly, being in shape requires exercise and 
a balanced diet. Which qualities are unattainable, no matter what you do—being taller, or from a different 
background, for instance? What is it about these qualities that attracts you? Can you feel the self-rejection 
in wishing to be these things? Can you recognize the value in the qualities you do have? 


Hypersensitivity 

Continual fantasizing, self-absorption, and negative comparisons 
lead Fours away from reality-based actions into heightened emotional¬ 
ity and moodiness. As a result, they become hypersensitive or touchy, 
such that even minor events or offhand statements from others can 
cause major emotional reactions. 







TYPE 


FOUR: THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


I 9 5 


Cass, whom we met earlier, reveals the inner turmoil that her feel¬ 
ings have sometimes created. 

I consider myself volatile and used to think there was nothing 
between elation and despair, and that I was mentally flawed. I am con¬ 
tinually at the mercy of outside influences that affect my moods, and 
I struggle to maintain a serene center.... I feel I am no good at hav¬ 
ing fun and long to do so, like other people. 

As they become more self-absorbed, Fours search for hidden mean¬ 
ings in their every emotional reaction, as well as in the statements of "People are so cruel and 
others. They replay conversations in their imaginations from the previ- insensitive to me.” 

ous day or the previous year, trying to arrive at what the other person 
was really saying to them. They may experience harmless comments as 
veiled insults. “You’ve lost weight!” can mean “She must think I was a 
fat slob.” Or “Your brother is such a talented young man” may be taken 
as an indictment of how untalented and inadequate the Four is by 
comparison. 

In this frame of mind, average Fours are extremely uncooperative 
and resentful—traits that are not likely to win friends or make rela¬ 
tionships easy. And yet because these qualities are consistent with their 
self-image of being “sensitive” and “different,” their hypersensitivity is 
seldom seen by Fours as negative or troublesome. 


GETTING REALITY CHECKS 

Get reality checks from people when you are feeling that they are judging, criticizing, or rejecting you. 
Ask them to clarify what they meant, and allow for the possibility that they may be telling you exactly what 
they feel. Avoid “overinterpreting" or “overreading” every gesture and comment that others are making. 
Chances are good that they are not scrutinizing you in this kind of detail. Notice, too, your degree of inter¬ 
est in others and the nature of your comments and thoughts about them.Would you find this acceptable in 
them? 


Self-Absorption and Narcissism 

Self-consciousness, social awkwardness, and subtle forms of getting 
attention are related to the narcissism we see in all three types of the 
Feeling Triad. In Twos and Threes, narcissism manifests directly in a 
drive to win validation and attention from others; the narcissism of 
Fours is expressed indirectly, in self-absorption and in the enormous 





I 9 6 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


significance Fours attribute to their every feeling. This state of mind 
can lead to crippling self-consciousness. 

Carol, a serious spiritual seeker, has wrestled with these feelings for 
many years. 

I have suffered greatly in my life from self-consciousness and a shrink¬ 
ing from extending myself to people I don’t know or feel comfort¬ 
able with. I have needed to feel their acceptance before I could really 
relax and be myself. This is something I strive to push beyond now 
that I have more self-awareness, but it can still be a struggle. I may 
find myself suddenly separating myself from a group and then feeling 
left out. 


“Every man supposes himself 
not to be fully understood or 
appreciated.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson 


Fours become so focused on their fragile feelings that they feel 
completely justified in demanding support for all of their emotional 
needs. At the same time, they can be surprisingly unaware of the feel¬ 
ings of others. They talk endlessly about every detail of their feelings, 
dreams, and problems but are often uninterested in learning about the 
feelings and problems of others; indeed, self-absorbed Fours often have 
difficulty focusing on anything that does not connect directly with 
their immediate emotional concerns. They feel that their own suffer¬ 
ings are enough for them to bear. 

A sure sign that Fours are becoming self-absorbed is the tendency 
to continually dwell in unpleasant moods. They tend to parade their 
hurt feelings (sulking or moping about in various ways) in search of 
sympathy, acutely feeling shortchanged by life, especially by their par¬ 
ents or by those who are currently dealing with them. No one, it seems 
to Fours, is giving them their due or recognizing their special state, 
needs, or suffering. No one understands their depth or sensitivity. They 
tend, therefore, to wallow in feeling sorry for themselves, which 
increases their fear of being incapable of getting their lives off the 
ground. 

Once stuck in their moods and reactions, average Fours typically 
withdraw from others to protect themselves from further self-exposure 
and from running the risk of humiliation, rejection, and abandonment. 
But by withholding themselves, they have fewer reality checks, and it 
becomes increasingly difficult for them to ask others what they think 
of their emotional reactions. Further, those few people with whom they 
are willing to communicate are almost never the same people with 
whom they have grievances or emotional problems. 



TYPE 


FOUR: THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


I 9 7 


WHY WITHHOLD YOURSELF? 


Notice when and how you withdraw from people and events, making yourself an outsider when you do 
not have to be, not participating in social and interpersonal events when you could. 

Can you distinguish when this is a legitimate choice arrived at with equanimity and when it is an emo¬ 
tionally charged reaction that is probably the result of an old childhood issue? 

Can you stay with your reaction long enough (without acting it out) to see what is at the root of it? 


Investment in “Having Problems” and Being Temperamental 

As strange as it seems, Fours actually become unconsciously 
attached to having difficulties. In the average-to-unhealthy range, they 
can be extremely reluctant to let go of their painful feelings and self- 
pity, even though they cause them continual suffering. 

The roots of this, however, are not difficult to understand. As chil¬ 
dren, Fours learned to get attention in their family by having emotion¬ 
al problems or by being temperamental and sullen. Many Fours learn 
that they can be reassured of others’ love for them by being difficult 
and seeing if others will make the effort to respond to them. Rather 
than throw a tantrum, however, Fours more often pout and refuse to 
speak for several days, or refuse to go on a family vacation, or dress 
entirely in black for a week. Sulking lets'everyone know that they are 
unhappy about something, without their having to tell anyone what it 
is. Indeed, Fours themselves may not know, since they are often over¬ 
come by dark and troubling moods seemingly out of the blue. They are 
often so identified with these moods that they feel they must attend to 
them before they can do anything else. Unfortunately, they also expect 
others to attend to them before doing anything else. 

William, a talented musician and Internet Web site designer, com¬ 
ments on the emotional storminess that has created difficulty in his 
career and relationships. 

I rarely have a sense of self that is stable. I spend a great deal of time 
trying to get emotionally balanced.To be out of balance emotionally 
is a major source of suffering. Whatever emotional need I am feeling, 
the desire for contact with others or depression must be dealt with 
right away and can’t be set aside. I like being a Four, but I find it’s a 
high-maintenance situation. 

Presenting themselves as needy, however, also enables Fours to get 
the attention of someone who is willing to be their rescuer, someone to 







I 9 8 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


attend to practical affairs so that they will have the time and space to 
discover themselves. Unfortunately, this only takes them away from a 
sense of personal responsibility and from the kinds of experiences that 
might give them a real sense of their value and identity. It is easy to see 
that this pattern also has its roots in childhood. 

William continues: 

"Everyone lets me down. ” 


Average Fours drive people away with their withdrawals and 
stormy emotionalism, and yet they demand attention through these 
very same behaviors. In various ways, they insist on certain rules of 
engagement, forcing others to walk on eggshells around them. (“You 
better not bring that up. We don’t want to upset Melissa again.”) Their 
dramatic demand to be alone is itself a bid for attention and an invita¬ 
tion to seek them out. Withdrawing Fours secretly hope that someone 
will follow them into their lair of loneliness. 


As a young child, I remember lying on a blanket in my room pre¬ 
tending to be asleep in the hope that my parents would open the 
door and find me. My fantasy was that they would find me so 
adorable that they would give me their love. I longed for emotional 
contact; it is my food. I always knew I was loved by my parents but 
rarely felt that they could mirror the deepest, most vulnerable parts 
of me. 


THE COST OF DRAMA 


Many Fours get into a pattern of having stormy conflicts with people and then reconnecting with them 
by making up. Notice your tendency to create drama in your principal relationships.What are you really frus¬ 
trated about? What behavior are you trying to elicit from the other person? How close have you come to 
truly alienating people you love with this pattern? 


REACTING TO 
STRESS: 
FOUR GOES TO 
TWO 


As we have seen, Fours tend to lose themselves in romantic fantasies 
and to withdraw from people both for attention and to protect their 
feelings. The shift to Two represents a Four’s effort to compensate for 
the problems that these behaviors inevitably create. Thus, after a period 
of withdrawal and self-absorption, Fours may go to Two and uncon¬ 
sciously try to solve their interpersonal, problems with a slightly forced 
friendliness—they try a little too hard. Like Twos, they begin to worry 
about their relationships and seek ways to get closer to the people they 
like. They need a great deal of reassurance that the relationship is on 
solid ground. To this end, they frequently express their affections to the 
other and remind him or her of how meaningful their relationship is. 






TYPE 


FOUR: THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


I 9 9 


In more extreme cases, Fours may precipitate emotional scenes to 
see if others really care about them. This kind of behavior often wears 
others down, causing them to lose interest in or even to leave the Four, 
which inevitably triggers the Four’s abandonment issues. Fours may 
then go to Two and try to hold on to people by clinging. Also, like aver¬ 
age Twos, Fours may feel that it is unsafe to express the extent of their 
neediness and may begin to conceal their problems by focusing on the 
problems of others. (“I’m here to help you.") 

Fours will eventually need increasing emotional and financial sup¬ 
port to continue their unrealistic lifestyle. They fear that without such 
support, they might lose the ability to actualize their dreams. To pre¬ 
vent this, Fours under stress begin to exaggerate their importance in 
others’ lives. They remind others of the many benefits that they have 
derived from their association with the Four, take credit for others’ hap¬ 
piness, and find little ways to increase people’s dependency on them. 
They try to create needs to fulfill and become increasingly jealous and 
possessive of the people they care about. Like Twos, Fours under stress 
may also compulsively seek credit for whatever they have accomplished 
while complaining about how unappreciated they are. 


If Fours have suffered a serious crisis without adequate support or 
coping skills, or if they have suffered from chronic abuse in childhood, 
they may cross the shock point into the unhealthy aspects of their type. 
This may lead them to a fearful recognition that their fantasies and 
emotional indulgences are causing them to ruin their lives and to waste 
their opportunities. 

If Fours can recognize the truth in these fears, they may begin to 
turn their lives around and move toward health and liberation. On the 


THE RED FLAG: 
THE FOUR IN 
TROUBLE 

▲ 


WARNING SIGNS 


POTENTIAL PATHOLOGY: 
Severe depression, Narcissistic 
Personality Disorder, Avoidant 
Personality Disorder, crimes of 
passion—murder and suicide 


► An oppressive sense of alienation from self and others 

► Extreme emotional volatility and touchiness {not a 
manic reaction) 

► Dependency on one or two others, with unstable relation¬ 
ships 

► Outbursts of rage, hostility, and hatred 

► Chronic, long-term depression and hopelessness 

► Episodes of self-sabotage and rejecting positive influences 

► Obsessions with death, morbidity, and self-hatred 




2 0 0 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


PRACTICES THAT 
HELP FOURS 
DEVELOP 


other hand, they may try even harder to hold on to their fantasies and 
illusions about themselves and attempt to reject anyone or anything that 
does not support their emotional demands. (“They are all so crude and 
selfish—none of them understand me.” “I know I need to find a job, 
but I’m just not up to it.”) If Fours persist in this attitude, they may 
cross into the unhealthy range. If you or someone you know is exhibit¬ 
ing the warning signs (page 199) for an extended period of time—more 
than two or three weeks—getting counseling, therapy, or other support 
is highly advisable. 


► Remember the adage that “feelings aren’t facts.” Your feelings 
may be powerful and may, at times, offer important insights into 
your own character. However, they do not necessarily provide accu¬ 
rate information about the motivations or feelings of others. Many 
of our emotional reactions to people are heavily influenced by earli¬ 
er relationships in our childhood, no matter what type we are. Be 
especially suspicious of “reading” any apparently negative intentions 
or comments by others about you. 

► Emotional volatility and moodiness are not the same as real 
sensitivity. Further, they are a fairly good indication that our heart is 
closed down. The deeper qualities of the heart are more subtle and 
are not reactions to the actions of others or to our environment. Our 
emotional reactions often prevent us from being affected by our 
experiences on a deeper level. Ironically, they indicate a fear or 
unwillingness to explore the deeper, truer feelings that our situation 
may be triggering in us. 

► Recognize the aspects of your Fantasy Self that are not in 
alignment with the reality of your life. Having creative goals is won¬ 
derful. Procrastinating because you feel that your “genius” is insuffi¬ 
ciently recognized, or because you do not have the particular tools 
you need, or because it is easier to daydream about your talents, is 
self-defeating. Similarly, learn to accept and appreciate your genuine 
talents and not to reject them because some other ability seems more 
glamorous or desirable. This is envy at its most self-destructive. 

► Seek out truthful friends-who will mirror you honestly and 
accurately. Find people who can see your genuine good qualities and 
talents and support you in their development—as well as speak com¬ 
passionately, but directly, to you about your blind spots. Fours, like 
most people, benefit from reality checks, especially when it comes to 
their feelings about themselves and their romantic interests. 



TYPE 


FOUR: 


THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


2 0 I 


► Beware of unconsciously expecting friends and intimates to 
be a dumping ground for your emorional upheavals. People who care 
about you want to be there in any way they can, but you cannot 
demand that they parent you or that they take on the brunt of your 
childhood issues. Remember that these people have problems, too, 
and they may not always be able to handle your intense reactions. 

► Set up positive, constructive routines for yourself. Fours tend 
to wait for inspiration to strike, but inspiration has a better chance 
of getting through to you if your daily schedule and living space are 
arranged in ways that support your creativity, your physical and 
emotional health, and above all your active engagement with the 
world. In your case, a little structure can go a long way in freeing up 
your creativity. 


Fours are the deep-sea divers of the psyche: they delve into the 
inner world of the human soul and return to the surface, reporting on 
what they have found. They are able to communicate subtle truths 
about the human condition in ways that are profound, beautiful, and 
affecting. In a fundamental way, Fours remind us ol our deepest 
humanity—that which is most personal, hidden, and precious about us 
but which is, paradoxically, also the most universal. 

Because of their attunement to their inner states—to their subcon : 
scious feelings and impulses—Fours are usually highly intuitive, an 
attitude that feeds their self-discovery and creativity. Although they 
may have intellectual gifts, they tend to rely primarily on what their 
intuitions are telling them about themselves and their environment 
from moment to moment. Often Fours are not sure how they are able 
to arrive at their insights; they find the inner workings of their con¬ 
sciousness mysterious and surprising. 

Carol, who earlier discussed the limitations of her self-consciousness, 
here relates the gift of her intuition. 

I feel things without always being aware of what I am feeling. For exam¬ 
ple, I may get an uneasy feeling inside in certain situations and not 
know what is causing it. Over the years, I have learned to pay attention 
to that feeling_At my best, I am highly intuitive. I know things with¬ 

out knowing how. I sit bolt upright in the middle of the night and know 
the answer to a dilemma.At those times there is absolutely no doubt 
in my mind, even when I would have preferred a different answer. 

At the same time, healthy Fours do not take themselves too seri¬ 
ously. They have a subtle sense of humor, often expressed in irony, that 


BUILDING ON 
THE FOUR’S 
STRENGTHS 

▲ 



“I’ve got to be me. ” 


THE PATH OF 
INTEGRATION: 
FOUR GOES TO 
ONE 

▲ 


HE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

sees their own foibles with grace and lightheartedness. Their eloquence 
of expression and sense of humor can be powerful assets, both in work¬ 
ing with others and in healing themselves. 

Fours are not the only type to be creative, since any of the 
Enneagram types can be creative. However, Fours have a particular 
kind of creativity, a personal creativity, which is fundamentally autobi¬ 
ographical. The creativity of Fours is generally an exploration of their 
history and feeling world, and particularly of how their family, their 
loves, and various incidents from the past have affected them. This is 
why so many playwrights, poets, and novelists are Fours. 

Riva shares her excitement about her insights into the human con¬ 
dition and the joy of finding ways to express those insights. 

At my best I have an ability to soar. I can see broad vistas and syn¬ 
thesize different levels and can communicate what I see in poetic and 
precise language that sweeps other people along and enables them 
to see it, too. I have an ability to see deep underlying principles, uni¬ 
versal truths, and subtle nuances of experiences and communicate 
them clearly and powerfully. At my best I am anchored in spiritual 
awareness and can be a source for others of wisdom and healing. At 
my best, I can express the ineffable. 

Healthy Fours receive the mirroring they seek by sharing the 
depths of their souls. As they do this, they discover with relief that their 
own nature is, at root, no different from anyone else’s. Their connec¬ 
tion with their inner life is not a source of alienation but a way of reach¬ 
ing out to and constructively engaging with others. 


Healthy Fours engage with reality through meaningful action. By 
committing themselves to principles and activities beyond the realm of 
their subjective reactions, Fours discover not only who they are but that 
who they are is good. They come more into contact with the immedi¬ 
acy of their instincts and become less entranced by the emotionally 
charged scenarios that play out in their minds. 

Fours at One also realize that self-expression does not mean 
indulging in their moods. They willingly become self-disciplined, 
working consistently to contribute something worthwhile to their 
world. No longer aloof bystanders waiting to be recognized, they par¬ 
ticipate fully in life and develop a stronger sense of themselves through 
their work and through their connections with others. 

This should not be confused, however, with adopting the critical or 
perfectionistic traits of the average One. Fours’ superegos are already 
punitive enough, so browbeating themselves with self-improvement 



TYPE 


FOUR: THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


2 0 3 


projects can easily lead to further self-recrimination. Therefore it is 
important to develop another healthy One trait—discrimination. 
Fours learn what healthy Ones know: that the reality of a situation and 
our emotional responses to it are two different things. 

Healthy Ones also exemplify acceptance of reality—working with 
the real components of a situation rather than resisting or rejecting 
them. Integrating Fours also understand that acceptance is the key to 
letting go of their past and creatively engaging with their lives in the 
present. With self-acceptance comes forgiveness for old mistakes and 
difficulties. With acceptance of others comes the ability to engage in 
mutually satisfying relationships. Fours no longer need to idealize oth¬ 
ers as rescuers or tear them off their pedestals for failing to live up to 
their unrealistic expectations. They see the other as other and can more 
accurately perceive their own valuable qualities without resorting to a 
Fantasy Self. 

Finally, integrating Fours are able to build a lasting, genuine sense 
of identity and self-esteem because it is based on real-life actions and 
relationships rather than on their imagination or transient emotional 
states. They recognize qualities in themselves that were previously invis¬ 
ible: strength, willpower, determination, and clarity. Further, once 
Fours ground themselves in the moment, all aspects of life become 
occasions for creativity. Rather than being drawn into endless intro¬ 
spection or the turbulent stream of their emotional reactions, integrat¬ 
ing Fours stay present to themselves and the world around them and 
thus begin to awaken to the deeper truths of the human heart. As they 
allow this process to unfold, their true identity reveals itself in every 
moment of their existence. 


In the process of transformation, Fours let go of a particular self- 
image—that they are more inherently flawed than others, and that they 
are missing something that others have. They also realize that there is 
nothing wrong with them; they are as good as anyone else. And if there 
is nothing wrong with them, then no one needs to rescue them. They 
are entirely able to show up for themselves and create their own lives. 
Fours discover that their true self is most evident when they are not 
doing anything to create or sustain it. In other words, “being them¬ 
selves” does not require any particular effort. 

At this stage, Fours no longer need to feel different or special, see¬ 
ing that, indeed, the universe has created only one of them, and that 
they are part of everything else—not isolated and alone. Life is no 
longer a burden, something to be endured. They also feel, perhaps for 
the first time, grateful for all of their past pain and suffering because in 
their own way these things have allowed them to become the people 


TRANSFORMING 
PERSONALITY 
INTO ESSENCE 

▲ 



2 0 4 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


“It is true of us all, whatever 
our work, that we are artists so 
long as we are alive to the con¬ 
creteness of the moment and do 
not use it to some other pur¬ 
pose." 

M. C. Richards 


that they now are. “Who they are” still remains a mystery, perhaps a 
bigger mystery than ever. But rather than cling to any preconceived 
notion of their identity, liberated Fours allow themselves to be open to 
the moment and to experience the renewal of the self that the moment 
brings. 

King is a therapist who, through years of inner work, has come to 
recognize the richness of his own inner nature. 

At my best, I’m fully alive. I have joy and energy and am connected 
meaningfully to others and life. I am solid! I express what I am feel¬ 
ing rather than ruminate alone about it. I am fueled by the discipline 
of accomplishing what I know needs to be done and not finding “rea¬ 
sons” for why I should not have to produce like everyone else. I am 
creative and imaginative, capable of finding hidden structures, pat¬ 
terns, and meaning in all of life’s challenges. I am free! 

Once liberated from their Basic Fear, Fours become a work of art 
and no longer need art as a substitute for the beauty that they find in 
abundance in themselves. Because they are aware of their Essential self 
and liberated from enm.eshment with their emotional reactions, they 
can be more profoundly in touch with the ever-changing nature of 
reality and are inspired and delighted by it. 

Diane, an engineer, beautifully describes this feeling of connected¬ 
ness. 

At my best, I’m uriself-conscious and spontaneous. Instead of being 
continually distracted by the minutiae of my internal states. I’m free 
to pay attention to the world and to the people around me. It's a 
wonderfully liberating experience to let go of the usual obsessive 
process of self-monitoring, self-analysis, and self-inhibition.Then it’s as 
if time slows down, and the world leaps into my awareness in all its 
richness and subtlety.Things around me look different—more three- 
dimensional, detailed, and vivid. I’m able to focus intently and effort¬ 
lessly on other people, to resonate with their emotional states, to lis¬ 
ten to their stories, without getting caught up in my own. 


THE EMERGENCE OF ESSENCE 

Type Four reveals to us the fundamental truth that our true self is 
not a thing with fixed attributes, it is an ever-transforming, ever-renewing 
process. Tbe manifestations of our true nature are constantly arising and 
transforming into something else just as marvelous and unexpected, 
like a magical kaleidoscope. Fours’ spiritual work lies in not making the 



TYPE 


FOUR: THE 


INDIVIDUALIST 


2 0 5 


kaleidoscopic self into a snapshot, framed and hung on a wall. Thus, 
Fours discover that who they really are is a flow of experience that is 
much more beautiful, rich, and satisfying than anything they could 
come up with in their imaginations. 

The experience of intimate contact with this flow opens us up to 
deeper contact with others and with more subtle aspects of spiritual 
reality. This contact always feels personal-—precious and of the 
moment. In a sense, Fours help us recognize the unity of the personal 
self and other, more universal aspects of our true nature. 

Thus, the Four’s special Essential quality is the embodiment of the 
personal element of the Divine. That which is eternal in us experiences 
the world through our personal experience. A fundamental aspect of 
our souls is impressionability —the ability to be touched and to grow 
from experience. When we are open and present, our hearts are affected 
and transformed by our experiences. Indeed, every time we allow our¬ 
selves to be truly touched by life, we are changed in profound ways. 
And ultimately, is not this the aim of all creative self-expression—to 
touch and transform the human heart? 

When Fours abide in their true nature, they are one with the cease¬ 
less creativity and transformation that are part of the dynamics of 
Essence. At their core, Fours represent creation, the constant outflow¬ 
ing of the manifest, changing universe in the eternal now. It is the most 
profound gift of Fours to be a symbol of this and to remind the other 
types that they, too, participate in Divine creativity. 


Add your scores for 


the fifteen state- 

► 15 You are probably not a withdrawn 

ments for Type 

type (not a Four, Five, or Nine). 

Four. Your result 

► 15—30 You are probably not a Type Four. 

will be between 15 

► 30—45 You most probably have Four-issues 

and 75. The fol- 

or a Type Four parent. 

lowing guidelines 

► 45—60 You most likely have a Four-compo- 

may help you dis- 

nent. 

cover or confirm 

► 60-75 You are most likely a Four (but could 

your personality 

still be another type if you are think- 

typ e - 

ing too narrowly about Type Four). 


Fours are most 
likely to 
misidentify 
themselves as 
Tivos, Ones, or 
Nines. Ones, 
Sixes, and Fives 
are most likely 
to misidentify 
themselves as 
Fours. 





CHAPTER II 



THETHINKER 


THE INNOVATOR 


TYPE FIVE: 

THE 

INVESTIGATOR 


THE OBSERVER 


THE SPECIALIST 


THE RADICAL 


THE EXPERT 


“The first act of insight is to throw away the labels. ” 

—Eudora Welty 


“Physical concepts are free creations ofthe human mind, and are not, how¬ 
ever it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. ” 

—Albert Einstein 


“To be master of any branch of knowledge, you must master those which lie 
next to it; and thus to know anything you must know all. ” 

—Oliver Wendell Holmes 


“Since we cannot be universal and know all that is to be known of every¬ 
thing, we ought to know a little about everything. ” 


—Pascal 



1 . 


I like to get into things in depth and pore over details until 
I’ve figured something out as completely as possible. 


THE 

RISO-HUDSON 


2. I am an extremely private person who doesn’t let many peo¬ 
ple into my world. 


TAS 


3. I do not feel very big or powerful—more small and invisi¬ 
ble: I’d make a good spy! 

4. Other people would think I’m crazy if they knew what I was 
thinking most of the time. 

5. Only by getting accurate information can you make a ratio¬ 
nal decision—but then, most people aren’t really rational. 

6. My family thinks that I am somewhat strange or eccen¬ 
tric—they’ve certainly told me that I need to get out more. 

7. I can talk a blue streak when I want to; most of the time, 
though, I prefer to just watch all the craziness around me. 

8. If you need a problem solved, let me work on it by myself, 
and I’ll come up with the answer. 


Type 

Attitude 

Sorter 


Score each of the follow¬ 
ing statements according 
to how true or applicable 
to you it is on the follow¬ 
ing scale: 


9. When you really think about it, you can’t get much stranger 
than so-called normal behavior. 


1. Not at All True 


10. I tend to take a long time fine-tuning projects I’m working 
on. 

11. Most people are so incredibly ignorant, it’s amazing that 
anything works at all! 


2 . Seldom True 

3 . Somewhat True 

4 . Generally True 


,12. I know a lot about a lot of things, and in a few areas, I con¬ 
sider myself an expert. 

.13. I am extremely curious and enjoy investigating why things 
are the way they are—even obvious things are not really so 
obvious when you really look at them. 

14. My mind is so intense and active that I often feel like it’s on 
fire. 

15. Often I lose all track of time because I’m concentrating so 
completely on what I’m doing. 


5. Very True 


See page 232for 
scoring key. 









2 0 8 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


PERSONALITY TYPE FIVE: THE INVESTIGATOR 


► BASIC FEAR: Of being 
helpless, useless, inca¬ 
pable (overwhelmed) 

► BASIC DESIRE: To be ca¬ 
pable and competent 

► SUPEREGO MESSAGE: 
“You are good or okay if 
you have mastered some¬ 
thing.” 


The Intense, Cerebral Type: 

Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated 

We have named personality type Five the Investigator because, more 
than any other type, Fives want to find out why things are the way they 
are. They want to understand how the world works, whether it is the 
cosmos, the microscopic world, the animal, vegetable, or mineral 
kingdom—or the inner world of their imaginations. They are always 
searching, asking questions, and delving into things in depth. They do 
not accept received opinions and doctrines, feeling a strong need to test 
the truth of most assumptions for themselves. 

John, a graphic artist, describes this approach to life. 


Being a Five means always needing to learn, to take in information 
about the world. A day without learning is like a day without sunshine. 
As a Five, I want to have an understanding of life. I like having a theo¬ 
retical explanation about why things happen as they do.This under¬ 
standing makes me feel in charge and in control. I most often learn 
from a distance as an observer and not as a participant. Sometimes it 
seems that understanding life is as good as living it. It is a difficult jour¬ 
ney to learn that life must be lived and not just studied. 


“ What’s going on hereI” 


Behind Fives’ relentless pursuit of knowledge are deep insecurities 
about their ability to function successfully in the world. Fives feel that 
they do not have an ability to do things as well as others. But rather than 
engage directly with activities that might bolster their confidence, Fives 
“take a step back” into their minds where they feel more capable. Their 
belief is that from the safety of their minds, they will eventually figure 
out how to do things—and one day rejoin the world. 

Fives spend a lot of time observing and contemplating—listening 
to the sounds of the wind or a synthesizer, or taking notes on the ac¬ 
tivities in an anthill in their backyard. As they immerse themselves in 
their observations, they begin to internalize their knowledge and gain 
a feeling of self-confidence. They may also stumble across exciting new 
information or make new creative combinations (playing a piece of 
music based on recordings of wind and water). When they get verifica¬ 
tion of their observations, or see that others understand their work, it 
is a confirmation of their competency, and this fulfills their Basic 
Desire. (“You know what you are talking about.”) 

Knowledge, understanding, and insight are thus highly valued by 






TYPE 


FIVE: THE 


INVESTIGATOR 


2 0 9 


Fives, because their identity is built around having ideas and being 
someone who has something unusual and insightful to say. For this rea¬ 
son, Fives are not interested in exploring what is already familiar and 
well established; rather, their attention is drawn to the unusual, the 
overlooked, the secret, the occult, the bizarre, the fantastic, the un¬ 
thinkable. Investigating unknown territory—knowing something that 
others do not know, or creating something that no one has ever expe¬ 
rienced—allows Fives to have a niche for themselves that no one else 
occupies. They believe that developing this niche is the best way that 
they can attain independence and confidence. 

Thus, for their own security and self-esteem, Fives need to have at 
least one area in which they have a degree of expertise that will allow 
them to feel capable and connected with the world. Fives think, “I am 
going to find something that I can do really well, and then I will be 
able to meet the challenges of life. But I can’t have other things dis¬ 
tracting me or getting in the way.” They therefore develop an intense 
focus on whatever they can master and feel secure about. It may be the 
world of mathematics, or the world of rock and roll, or classical 
music, or car mechanics, or horror and science fiction, or a world en¬ 
tirely created in their imagination. Not all Fives are scholars or 
Ph.D.’s. But, depending on their intelligence and the resources avail¬ 
able to them, they focus intensely on mastering something that has 
captured their interest. 

For better or worse, the areas that Fives explore do not depend on 
social validation; indeed, if others agree with their ideas too readily, 
Fives tend to fear that their ideas might be too conventional. History is 
full of famous Fives who overturned accepted ways of understanding or 
doing things (Darwin, Einstein, Nietzsche). Many more Fives, how¬ 
ever, have become lost in the byzantine complexities of their own 
thought processes, becoming merely eccentric and socially isolated. 

The intense focus of Fives can thus lead to remarkable discoveries 
and innovations, but when the personality is more fixated, it can also 
create self-defeating problems. This is because their focus of attention 
unwittingly serves to distract them from their most pressing practical 
problems. Whatever the sources of their anxieties may be—relation¬ 
ships, lack of physical strength, inability to gain employment, and so 
forth—average Fives tend not to deal with these issues. Rather, they 
find something else to do that will make them feel more competent. 
The irony is that no matter what degree of mastery they develop in 
their area of expertise, this cannot solve their more basic insecurities 
about functioning in the world. For example, as a marine biologist, a 
Five could learn everything there is to know about a type of shellfish, 
but if her fear is that she is never going to be able to run her own house¬ 
hold adequately, she will not have solved her underlying anxiety. 


“What if we try it 
another wayi” - 



2 I 0 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Dealing directly with physical matters can feel extremely daunting 
for Fives. Lloyd is a life scientist working in a major medical research 


lab. 


Since I was a child, I have shied away from sports and strenuous phys¬ 
ical activity whenever possible. I was never able to climb the ropes in 
gym class, stopped participating in sports as soon as it was feasible, 
and the smell of a gymnasium still makes me uncomfortable. At the 
same time, I have always had a very active mental life. I learned to 
read at the age of three, and in school I was always one of the 
smartest kids in academic subjects. 

Thus, much of their time gets spent collecting and developing 
ideas and skills they believe will make them feel confident and pre¬ 
pared. It is as if they want to retain everything that they have learned 
and carry it around in their heads. The problem is that while they are 
engrossed in this process, they are not interacting with others or even 
increasing many other practical and social skills. They devote more and 
more time to collecting and attending to their collections, less to any¬ 
thing related to their real needs. 

Thus, the challenge to Fives is to understand that they can pursue 
whatever questions or problems spark their imaginations and maintain 
relationships, take proper care of themselves, and do all of the things 
that are the hallmarks of a healthy life. 


Please note that the 
childhood pattern we are 
describing here does not 
cause the personality 
type. Rather, it describes 
tendencies that we ob¬ 
serve in early childhood 
that have a major impact 
on the type’s adult rela¬ 
tionships. 


THE CHILDHOOD PATTERN 

Fives often report that as children, they did not feel safe in their 
families; they felt in danger of being overwhelmed by their parents, and 
so they started looking for a way that they could feel secure and confi¬ 
dent. First, they retreated from the family into their own private 
space—mentally, physically, and emotionally. Second, they turned 
their attention away from their personal and emotional needs onto 
something “objective.” 

Young Fives typically spend long periods on their own; they are 
quiet children who shy away from playing with others, instead occu¬ 
pying their minds and imaginations with books, practicing a musical 
instrument or playing with a computer, collecting insects or plants, or 
playing with board games or chemistry sets. It is common to find 
young Fives who are exceptionally advanced in some areas (such as 
spelling or mathematics) but who are unwilling to even try other basic 
activities (such as riding a bike or going fishing). Others in the family, 
especially anxious parents who want their Five child to be more “nor- 




TYPE 


FIVE: THE 


INVESTIGATOR 


2 I I 


mal,” will typically try to pressure them into joining in social activities. 
These efforts usually meet with intense resistance. 

Although brilliant, Michael was isolated as a child and in many 
ways penalized for his intellectual gifts, even by his own parents. 

As a child I had allergies and many respiratory infections that kept 
me home from school a lot before age eight. As a result, I had a lot 
of time to sit around and read and spent less time playing with other 
kids. My coordination was not good, and I didn’t want to do what 
most of the others wanted to do anyway. So I became known as the 
nerdy bookworm with a runny nose. 

While Fives’ imaginations can be a source of creativity and self¬ 
esteem, living there almost exclusively fuels their anxieties about them¬ 
selves and the world. It is not simply that young Fives see the world 
around them with startling clarity, they also elaborate on it in their 
minds—a faculty that will have profound repercussions later on, for 
better or worse. 

Mason, an architect and community planner, recalls the difficult 
events that eventually led to his retreat into the mind. 

I was the youngest child of five children with a blind father and a lov¬ 
ing mother who was too busy providing for her kids and husband to 
spend any time with me. I had a jealous older sister who continually 
told me that I was a mistake, that nobody wanted or loved me, and 
that I should just die or go away. I lived my life as though that was 
true and had ambivalent relationships with my parents and siblings. I 
just hunkered down and created my own world of reality and fanta¬ 
sized myself as the leader in my own made-up world. 

Thus, Fives do not expect anything from others, except to be left 
alone to pursue their own interests unimpeded by anyone else’s de¬ 
mands or needs, especially their emotional needs. It is as if they were 
saying, “I won’t ask much from you if you don’t ask much from me.” 
Independence—or perhaps more accurately, nonintrusion —is therefore 
sought by Fives as a way of attaining safety and the feeling that they 
have control of their lives. 

Not being intruded on also allows Fives the time to develop some¬ 
thing “to bring to the table” when they eventually do feel ready to con¬ 
nect with others. For example, they may learn the piano principally 
because they enjoy it and it gives them time alone; it also bolsters their 
self-esteem and provides a niche for them in the family. Music is a po¬ 
tential bridge to others, but it is also a way of disappearing: rather than 
talk with anyone, they can play the piano for them. 



2 


2 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Fives are psychologically stuck in the separation phase of child¬ 
hood—the period around two to three-and-a-half years old—when 
children are learning to operate independently of their mothers. For 
whatever reasons, young Fives felt that the only way to become inde¬ 
pendent was to make themselves not want nurturing and emotional con¬ 
nection with their mothers. Thus, at an early age, Fives learned to cut off 
from painful feelings of need and longing by staying in their minds. 
Lloyd speculates on what caused his sense of detachment. 

I have felt disconnected from my mother since before I can remem¬ 
ber. Her heart was broken at least twice before I was born: she mar¬ 
ried a man who was unable to consummate their relationship and 
blamed this on her appearance or lack of appeal; it later turned out 
that he was gay and trying to "act straight.” After she married my fa¬ 
ther (who was very safe, trustworthy, and unadventurous), they had 
a son who died three days after birth. Two years and two miscar¬ 
riages later, I was born. I think my mother was unable to fully give her 
heart to me after all that 

Learning to cut themselves off from nurturance—even from desir¬ 
ing it—becomes a way of defending themselves against further hurts 
and frustrations. This becomes significant for adult Fives and explains 
their reluctance to become more emotionally engaged with others. To 
leave the safety of their minds, to reoccupy the body and feelings, is to 
reexperience the primal frustration and anguish of their infant selves. 
Such feelings completely overwhelm a Five’s capacity to focus their 
mind—their basis of self-confidence—and are therefore powerfully de¬ 
fended against. Even to want something ordinary too much could 
upset their inner security; thus adult Fives go through life avoiding the 
things they most want, repressing their longing and finding substitute 
pleasures in their interests, hobbies, and creativity. 


THE WING 
SUBTYPES 


THE FIVE WITH A FOUR-WING: THE ICONOCLAST 

Healthy Curiosity and perceptiveness combine in this subtype 
with the desire to express a unique, personal vision. These people are 
more emotional, introspective, and creative than Fives with a Six-wing. 
They seek a niche that has not been explored by others—something 
that can truly be their own. Not scientifically oriented, they are often 
creative loners, mixing passion and detachment. They are whimsical 
and inventive: their tinkering with familiar forms can lead to startling 
innovations. Often drawn to the arts, they use the imagination more 
than the analytic, systematic parts of their minds. 



TYPE 


FIVE: .THE 


INVESTIGATOR 


Average Although primarily identified with their minds, people of 
this subtype struggle with intense feelings that can create difficulties in 
sustaining efforts and in working with others. They are more indepen¬ 
dent than the other subtype and resist having structures imposed on 
them. Their interests tend toward the surreal and fantastic rather than 
the rational or the romantic: they can easily get lost in their own cerebral 
landscapes. They often have difficulty staying grounded and can become 
impractical in the pursuit of their interests. They can be attracted to 
dark, forbidden subject matter or to the disturbing or grotesque. 


THE FIVE WITH A SIX-WING: THE PROBLEM-SOLVER 

Healthy Observation combined with organization and detail 
gives people of this subtype the ability to draw meaningful conclusions 
from miscellaneous facts and to make predictions based on those con¬ 
clusions. They seek a niche that will provide security and that fits into a 
larger context. They are often drawn to technical subjects: engineering, 
science, and philosophy, as well as inventing and repair work. They can 
be cooperative, disciplined, and persistent and are more interested in 
practical matters than the other subtype. They can combine a talent for 
innovation with business savvy, sometimes with highly lucrative results. 

Average Perhaps the most purely intellectual of all of the sub- 
types, these people are interested in theories, technology, and acquiring 
facts and details. Analysts and catalogers of the environment, they 
enjoy dissecting the components of a problem to discover how it works. 
Extremely restrained and private about their feelings, their attention is 
more directed at things than at people, although Fives with a Six-wing 
identify strongly with key people in their lives. Not particularly intro¬ 
spective, they prefer to observe and understand the world around them. 
They can be more argumentative than the other subtype and more de¬ 
fensive in their views. They tend to be aggressive and to actively antag¬ 
onize people who disagree with them. 


2 i 


Examples 


David Lynch 
Stephen King 
Glenn Gould 
Georgia O’Keeffe 
Joyce Carol Oates 
Sinead O’Connor 
Merce Cunningham 
Lily Tomlin 
Tim Burton 
Kurt Cobain 
Vincent Van Gogh 


Examples 


Stephen Hawking 
Bill Gates 
Doris Lessing 
Bobby Fischer 
Laurie Anderson 
Brian Eno 
Jane Goodall 
Isaac Asimov 
Amelia Earhart 
Charles Darwin 


THE SELF-PRESERVATION INSTINCT IN THE FIVE 

Isolation and Hoarding. In the average range, Self-Preservation 
Fives attempt to gain independence and separation by reducing their 
needs. They are highly conscious of their energy expenditures, consid¬ 
ering what activities and pursuits they will take on, and questioning 
whether they will have sufficient internal resources to meet them. If 
not, activities will be dropped. Self-Preservation Fives also conserve 
their energy and resources in order to avoid needing others too much, 


THE 

INSTINCTUAL 

VARIANTS 



2 I 4 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


trying to take as little from the environment as possible. Thus, they can 
be very private and protective of their home and work space. 

Self-Preservation Fives are the true loners of the Enneagram, loving 
solitude and generally avoiding social contact. They feel easily over¬ 
whelmed by people, especially in group settings. Although they can be 
friendly and talkative, they are slow to engage with others and often feel 
drained by social interactions. They then need time in their home space 
to recharge their batteries. They can be extremely resentful of having 
expectations placed on them. Often they will find ways to minimize 
their needs so that they can live on less money, thus avoiding interfer¬ 
ence with their independence and privacy. They are also the most emo¬ 
tionally detached variant of Type Five. While they can be warm with 
friends and intimates, they more generally tend to be emotionally dry 
and have great difficulty expressing their feelings for others. 

In the unhealthy range, Self-Preservation Fives can become eccen¬ 
tric shut-ins, going to great lengths to avoid social contact. Isolation 
leads to distorted thinking and delusional ideas. They may exhibit 
paranoid tendencies, especially with the Six-wing. 


THE SOCIAL INSTINCT IN THE FIVE 

The Specialist. In the average range, Social Fives engage with 
others and find a social niche for themselves through their knowledge 
and skill. They like to see themselves as Masters of Wisdom and want 
to become indispensable through their particular field of expertise (the 
only person in the office who knows how to fix the computer, for ex¬ 
ample). The most intellectual type of Five, Social Fives are often drawn 
to academics, science, and other forms of guruhood. They play the so¬ 
cial role of the shaman, the wise person who lives at the edge of the 
tribe and brings back secret knowledge. Social Fives like to talk about 
weighty topics and complex theories, but they are generally uninter¬ 
ested in social banter. They interact with others by debating ideas, cri¬ 
tiquing society, and analyzing trends. 

Less healthy Social Fives become unable to relate to others except 
through the role of their expertise. They use the information they have 
gathered as bargaining chips, as their way of wielding power. They can 
become socially ambitious in the sense of wanting to be part of the in¬ 
tellectual or artistic elite. They would prefer not to “waste their time” 
on those who cannot understand their work. 

In the unhealthy range, Social Fives tend to express extreme 
and provocative views. They are often anarchistic and antisocial, heap¬ 
ing derision on the human race, seeing it as nothing more than a 
ship of fools. They can develop bizarre theories about society or real- 



TYPE 


FIVE: THE 


INVESTIGATOR 


2 I 5 


itv but, unlike Self-Preservation Fives, are determined to propound 
them to others. 


THE SEXUAL INSTINCT IN THE FIVE 

“This Is My World.” In the average range, the detachment and 
avoidance characteristic of Fives clash with the Sexual Variants desire for 
intense connection. Sexual Fives like sharing secret information with 
their intimates. (“I’ve never told anyone this.”) But they are always expe¬ 
riencing some degree of tension between pursuing those they are at¬ 
tracted to and lacking confidence in their social skills. Thus Sexual Fives 
are driven to engage intensely with people, although often with anxiety 
and a tendency to withdraw at a moments notice. They are more affable 
and talkative than the other two Instinctual Variants of Type Five, but 
they can cause others surprise and consternation when they unexpectedly 
drop out and disappear for periods of time. On the one hand, when ro¬ 
mantically interested in someone, they can become extremely open and 
merged, more like Nines. On the other, when they feel unappreciated or 
misunderstood, they can quickly become emotionally distant. Powerful 
connections with others alternate with long periods of isolation. 

The sexual instinct mixes with intellect to produce intense imagi¬ 
nation. Sexual Fives create alternative realities—private “worlds” of var¬ 
ious kinds—that they present to potential intimates. They are looking 
for the ideal mate, the mate for life, who will not be turned off by their 
strangeness. (“Does this intensity frighten you?”) Strong sexuality gives 
Sexual Fives the impetus to risk emotional contact and also provides re¬ 
lief from their constant mental activity. It becomes a way to ground 
themselves. But in less healthy Fives, the mix of imagination and sexu¬ 
ality can become dark and fetishistic: they can become lost in disturb¬ 
ing fantasies and dreams. 

In the unhealthy range, longing for lost love and feelings of rejec¬ 
tion can lead Sexual Fives into isolation and self-destructive behavior. 
They are often drawn, through voyeurism, into dangerous lifestyles and 
can be attracted to society’s underbelly. 


Most Fives will encounter the following issues at some point in 
their lives. Noticing these patterns, “catching ourselves in the act,” 
and simply seeing our underlying habitual responses to life will do 
much to release us from the negative aspects of our type. 


THE FIVE’S 
CHALLENGES TO 
GROWTH 



Level 

1 

Ary Terms: 

Participating 

Visionary 

Fives let go of the belief that they are separate from the environment—an 
outside observer—and are thus able to confidently engage in life. They also 
paradoxically achieve their Basic Desire—to be capable and competent and 
able to live in the world. They then become clear-minded, knowing, pro¬ 
found, and compassionate. 

Level 

2 

Observant 

Perceptive 

Fives focus on the environment so they can feel confident to function in it 
and develop skills to defend against their Basic Fear. Self-image: “I am 
smart, curious, and independent.” 

Level 

3 

Focused 

Innovative 

Fives reinforce their self-image by mastering a body of knowledge or skills 
that will make them competent and strong. Not wishing to compete with 
others, they prefer to explore new ideas and forms. Their “tinkering” can 
result in profoundly original ideas, inventions, and art. 

Level 

4 

Conceptualizing 

Preparing 

Fives begin to fear that their skills are insufficient and that they need to pre¬ 
pare more before they can take their place in the world. They feel unsure of 
themselves in many areas, preferring to inhabit the safety of their minds. 
They study, practice, and collect more knowledge, resources, and skills. 

Level 

5 

Detached 

Preoccupied 

Fives worry that the needs of others will distract them from their projects, 
so they shut out “intrusions” by intensifying their mental activity. They 
minimize their needs, becoming high-strung, cerebral, and secretive. They 
spend more time alone, speculating and elaborating on alternative realities. 

Level 

6 

Extreme 

Provocative 

Fives fear that others will threaten the niche they have been creating, so they 
try to fend people off. They resent the apparent confidence and calm of oth¬ 
ers and enjoy subverting their beliefs. Their own ideas can be bizarre and 
disturbing, and they are scornful of those who cannot understand them. 

Level 

7 

Nihilistic 

Eccentric 

Unhealthy Fives fear that they are incapable of finding a place in the world, 
and this may be true. To gain some security, they cut off all connections 
with the world, retreating into an isolated and increasingly empty world. 
They reject all but the most basic needs but are still plagued by fears. 

Level 

8 

Horrified 

Delirious 

Fives feel so small and helpless that almost everything becomes ominous to 
them. They are filled with dark fantasies and strange perceptions. They re¬ 
sist all help, shrinking away from people and into feverish nightmares and 
insomnia. They cannot stop their overheated minds. 

Level 

9 

Seeking 
. Oblivion 
Self- 

Annihilating 

Feeling that they can no longer defend themselves from their pain and ter¬ 
ror, unhealthy Fives want to escape from reality. In some cases, they at¬ 
tempt to accomplish this through psychotic breaks or schizoid withdrawal. 
They may also try to escape through suicide. 













TYPE 


FIVE: THE 


INVESTIGATOR 


2 I 7 


THE WAKE-UP CALL FOR TYPE FIVE: 

RETREATING INTO THEIR MINDS 

Whenever Fives feel overwhelmed by people or circumstances, in¬ 
stantly and reflexively they detach from direct engagement with their 
senses and emotions and retreat into their minds. In effect, they are try¬ 
ing to find a safe vantage point from which they can more objectively 
assess their situation. 

When Fives move into their heads in this way, they cease connect¬ 
ing directly with their experience and instead become more engaged with 
their mental commentary on the experience. They turn experiences into 
concepts and then see how those concepts fit in with their previous 
understanding of reality. For instance, a psychologist Five might be 
having a pleasant conversation with a friend and suddenly find him¬ 
self considering the friend’s thoughts and feelings in the light of a par¬ 
ticular psychological structure rather than listening to her. Another 
Five might spend most of her vacation mentally taking notes on the 
place for a novel she is working on rather than relaxing and enjoying 
the trip. 


RECONNECTING WITH THE WORLD 


Look around the room you are now in, and in your Inner Work Journal list all of the things that you never 
noticed up to this point See what you have missed or overlooked. How many new things, colors, irregular¬ 
ities, or features of the room can you now find? When we are present, we notice everything. But when we 
go into our heads, we do not notice much. 

Whenever you are in a new place, you can practice this exercise. First, however, you must become pres¬ 
ent by sensing yourself and breathing.Then look at your world as if you have never seen it before. If you are 
a Five, you can use this exercise to reconnect with the world and “activate” your Wake-up Call; if you are 
not a Five, you will know better what it is like to be one. 


Over rime, the Five’s mental associations, comments, and ideas 
begin to fit together into what we call the Inner Tinker Toy. This Tinker 
Toy can become the Five’s dominant reality—the filter through which 
they experience the world. Increasingly, adding new ideas, reconstruct¬ 
ing old ones, and attempting to see how different parts of this mental 
structure might fit together become the main pastimes of Fives. Since 
they are successful at coming up with new ideas all the time, this be¬ 
comes a powerful way to prop up their self-esteem and to defend the self. 
But moving their attention more completely into the Inner Tinker Toy 
causes Fives to abstract and conceptualize the world rather than experi¬ 
ence it directly, and this inevitably leads to a loss of contact with Essential 







2 I 8 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


guidance. Simply put, playing with ideas gives Fives a temporary sense of 
confidence but not a solution to their real problems in the real world. 

The Social Role: The Expert 

As Fives become more insecure, they find it more and more diffi¬ 
cult to relate to other people except through the role of being an 
Expert. Because of their Basic Fear (of being helpless, powerless, and 
incapable), they want to feel more self-confident and carve out a niche 
for themselves. They do this by knowing information that no one else 
in their circle knows (such as the fine points of chess or the more ar¬ 
cane aspects of astrology—or the Enneagram, for that matter). They 
may also carve out an area of creativity that is uniquely their own. 

Knowing a great deal about chess, however, is not sufficient if oth¬ 
ers in their circle learn as much; average Fives must either surpass every¬ 
one else in their understanding of the game or find another game to 
play: perhaps an obscure game played by the Incas, or a fiendishly com¬ 
plicated computer game. 

While Fives are spending more time in their chosen pursuit, they 
are also aware of the many areas of life that they have not mastered. 
Being a brilliant physicist or a masterful writer of horror novels cannot 
entirely compensate for being unable to cook or drive a car or success¬ 
fully engage in a relationship. Physical activities and athletics are typi¬ 
cally a source of shame for Fives, a reminder of something they were 
not able to master. Social activities and other aspects of relationships 
may also get short shrift. A Five might have gone out on a few dates, 
but if she got hurt in some way by the experience, it might be years be¬ 
fore she risks dating again. If this pattern continues, the Five’s world 
shrinks down to very few activities that feel safe to them. 


WHAT WILL REALLY BUILD CONFIDENCE? 


Notice your dependency on certain areas of interest. How does this area of expertise make you feel 
about yourself? How does it feel to relate to others without discussing your areas of expertise? Are there 
other areas of your life that you are neglecting that cause you shame or anxiety? Are you focusing on your 
niche to the exclusion of developing some of these other areas? 


Avarice and Feeling Small 

The Passion of the Five (their “Capital Sin”) is avarice, a particular emo¬ 
tional distortion resulting from their feeling that they are small and inca¬ 
pable of defending themselves in the world. Fear makes Fives shrink inward. 







TYPE 


FIVE: THE 


INVESTIGATOR 


2 I 9 


and avarice makes them try to hoard whatever minimal resources they have 
at their disposal. Fives feel as though there is not much of them to go 
around, and that the needs of others can easily>deplete or exhaust them. 

Actually, Fives are among the least materialistic of the types and are 
happy with very few creature comforts. They are avaricious, however, 
about their time, energy, and resources. They are greedy for knowledge 
and for the means of improving their skills and expertise. Furthermore, 
because Fives feel that they must spend most of their time developing their 
ideas and interests, they do not want anyone to take too much of their 
time or attention. Because they feel incapable and helpless, they believe 
that they must gather and hold on to all of those things that will make 
them capable and secure. They may collect back issues of newspapers or 
magazines, or compile extensive notes and books on the few areas that in¬ 
terest them, or collect records and CDs until their house is overflowing. 

Fives often feel crowded and overwhelmed by the expectations of 
others. Further, since Fives feel easily intruded upon, they learn to pro¬ 
tect themselves by emotionally withdrawing from people. 

Mark is a computer specialist with an engaging sense of humor and 
a touching sincerity. He has been happily married for years, but still 
struggles with these issues. 

My mother had two sons before I came along, one born with facial 
skin problems and the other accidentally killed as a pre-teen. When I 
was born, there was a sense that I had to be overly protected and 
cared for. Unfortunately, nothing was mine alone. My parents had to 
know where I was, what I was doing, what I was getting into, every¬ 
thing that was in my room, etc. I learned early on to retreat and with¬ 
draw into my mind.There I found the freedom from intrusiveness that 
was part of my daily life. No one could enter there unless I allowed 
it—and that never happened. In my early teens, I began to outwardly 
resist by becoming more aloof, secretive, and emotionally cool.To this 
day, I remain emotionally distant from my parents, as well as others. 

/nubility to Bring Closure: Preparation Mode 

Average Fives often get locked into what we call preparation mode. 
They gather more and more information, or endlessly practice, never 
feeling that they are prepared enough to move into action. Fine-tuning 
and analysis bog them down in details so that they cannot see the forest 
for the trees. They never feel quite ready to put themselves on the'line, 
like a painter who keeps painting but hesitates to exhibit, or the student 
who pursues one degree after another but does not want to graduate. 

Fives are not necessarily conscious of their underlying anxiety. 
More often they simply feel that they are not finished with their 


“Filling up the hard 
disk” 



220 THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRA M 

“Ineed more time.” project and require more space and time to fine-tune it. Since so 

much of their self-esteem rides on their projects, Fives are deeply anx¬ 
ious that their work will be rejected or invalidated by others. But al¬ 
ways feeling that they need to prepare more can cause Fives to get 
stuck for many years. They may awaken one day to realize that they 
have not lived a life—they have been preparing for one. 

Basically, Fives get paralyzed by a recurring superego message that says, 
“You are good or okay if you have mastered something.” But how much 
knowledge do they need? Who or what lets them know that they have at¬ 
tained mastery and can now move into action? How is mastery sustained? 
Morgan recognizes the high cost of this pattern in his life. 

I struggled for many years as a songwriter, and in retrospect, I realize 
that a lot of people thought my songs were pretty good. But I was 
never convinced of it. I would toy with them endlessly. This sound 
wasn’t interesting enough or the bridge was too corny or that verse 
sounded like someone else.Worse, I would not write songs at all and 
spend my days “doing research,” listening to other music for inspira¬ 
tion and understanding. Even when I was involved with other musi¬ 
cians who could have really helped me present my music, I was always 
very hesitant to play it for them, or to ask them to perform it. I tried 
to feel better about it by telling myself that I was becoming a better 
musician in the process and that one day I’d be really good. I wasted 
many years that way. 


BRINGING YOUR IDEAS TO FRUITION 


You are most effective when you stop refining concepts and actually get into action. Whenever possible, 
find people that you can share your ideas with. A group of creative or intellectual peers who are interested 
in your work can help you to keep things moving. Also, although you are not keen on collaboration, it can 
be very useful in keeping you from collapsing into preparation mode. 


Detachment and Withdrawal 

Fives are the most independent and idiosyncratic of the personal¬ 
ity types, the ones who could most appropriately be called loners and 
even misfits. This does not mean that Fives always want to be alone, or 
that they cannot be excellent company when they are with others. 
When Fives find someone whose intelligence and interest they respect, 
they are invariably talkative and sociable because they enjoy sharing 
their insights and discoveries with anyone who appreciates what they 







TYPE 


FIVE: THE 


INVESTIGATOR 


2 2 I 


have to say. Their willingness to share their knowledge, however, is not 
the same as sharing information about themselves. 

Unlike Fours, who long to be accepted while feeling like outsiders, 
Fives are not consciously anguished about not connecting with people. 
They are resigned about it and focus their attention elsewhere, feeling 
that their isolation is inevitable—just the way life is. (Tim Burtons 
movie EdwardScissorhands perfectly describes the inner emotional life of 
a Five.) Their emotional needs and desires are deeply repressed. Beneath 
their defenses, this causes Fives pain, of course, but they are able to dis¬ 
connect from their feelings about their loneliness so they can function. 

Richard, a successful businessman, traces his emotional reserve 
back to his childhood. 

I believe that much of my detached personality can be attributed to 
my lack of relationship with either my father, who was away in the 
military much of the early part of my life, or my mother, who was 
more interested in her social life than the needs of her fourth child. 

The family story was that I was “an accident,” and my mother had al¬ 
ready done "mom” things with my three older siblings. So I learned 
to fend for myself very early on and got pretty good at being scarce 
and not being noticed. 

. Fives, like Nines, have trouble maintaining their sense of self and their 
own needs when in relationship with others. Unlike Nines, however, Fives 
attempt to regain their priorities and sense of self by avoiding people. 
Being in the company of others obscures their mental clarity and feels like 
a strain—even if they are enjoying themselves. For these reasons, average 
Fives come to see most personal interactions as draining. They feel that 
others want a response from them that they are unable to give. 

Mark is quite candid on this topic. 

Sometimes it is just difficult dealing with people, and it always is deal¬ 
ing with people who have expectations. Much to the unnerving of my 
wife, having to speak, act, dress, behave, and react in an appropriate 
manner (that is, having to meet social expectations) has never been 
a strong point of mine. It takes effort to attain social acceptance, to 
which I wonder, “Why try?” 

Fives may actually have a very deep reservoir of feelings, but they 
are buried underground and are purposely left untapped. In fact, Fives 
avoid many relationships so that these feelings will not overwhelm 
them. Most Fives will also shun those who are trying to help them. (To be 
rescued is to have their helplessness and incompetence emphasized, re¬ 
inforcing their Basic Fear.) This is especially true if the rescuer shows 


“Is it safe to come out?” 



2 2 2 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


THE ROOTS OF ISOLATION 


In your Inner Work Journal, record your observations about isolation. What kinds of situations cause you 
to detach emotionally? What are your attitudes about people at such times? About social life? About your¬ 
self? Can you recall any incidences from your childhood that you feel reinforced this tendency in you? Did 
you feel engulfed by others’ needs or intruded upon?The next time you are with people, see if you can catch 
yourself emotionally detaching or feeling isolated. What would it take to be in relationship with others and 
not lose your own sense of purpose? 


any hint of having an ulterior motive or is in any way manipulative: 
Fives feel incapable of handling their own needs, let alone the unac¬ 
knowledged needs of someone else. 


Minimizing Needs: Becoming a “Disembodied Mind” 


“I don’t need much, but I 
need my space . ” 


The types of the Thinking Triad attempt to make up for the loss of 
inner guidance by developing strategies. The Five’s strategy is to get 
through life by not asking much of it, while hoping that in return oth¬ 
ers will not ask much of them. (Unconsciously, they often feel that they 
do not have much to offer others.) They attempt to maintain their in¬ 
dependence by minimizing their needs. Their personal comforts can be 
simple to the point of being primitive. They live like “disembodied 
minds,” preoccupied with their theories and visions. 

Morgan, the songwriter, speaks candidly about his type’s min¬ 
imalism. 


I lived in my apartment for several months before I got a futon, and 
before that I slept on an air mattress or just on the floor. I had al¬ 
most no furniture for years, other than the shelves I had gathered to 
keep my books and LPs. I think other people felt sorry for me, so 
they would bring me beat-up old hand-me-down furniture, which I 
was happy to accept. Nothing matched, buH didn’t care. I was living 
in my head—my apartment was just the place I ate and slept. 

Average Fives can become absentminded and increasingly detached, 
not only from people but from their own bodies. They get high-strung 
and intense and start to ignore their own physical and emotional needs. 
They may work at their computer all night eating only candy bars and 
drinking soda; when they leave, they realize that they have forgotten 
where they put their keys or what they did with their eyeglasses. Their 
absentmindedness is not the same as the wool-gathering of Nines, but is 






TYPE 


FIVE: THE 


INVESTIGATOR 


2 2 3 


the product of an increasing agitation and mental restlessness, a stream 
of nervous energy pouring into their minds. 


STAYING GROUNDED 


Fives need to get into their bodies. Yoga, martial arts, working out, running, sports, or just a good brisk 
walk can all help Fives to reconnect with their physical and emotional presence. Pick one activity that you 
can commit to on a regular basis. In your Inner Work Journal, write down your chosen activity. Also write a 
commitment to how many times a week you will engage in your physical activity, sign it, and return to it. 
Leave some space to write further comments on your experience with your commitment and about what 
takes place in you as you get more grounded. What feelings arise when you don’t keep your commitment? 
What happens to your sense of yourself when you do your activity? How does it affect your thinking? 


Fives at this stage are also highly secretive about their activities. They 
might seem friendly and conversational with friends or loved ones while 
harboring whole areas of their lives of which their intimates are com¬ 
pletely ignorant. By compartmentalizing their relationships, minimizing 
their needs, and keeping some of their activities secret, Fives hope to 
maintain their independence and continue their projects undisturbed. 


Getting Lost in Speculation and Alternative Realities 

Having created an inner world to which they can retreat from the in¬ 
securities of their outer life, average Fives tend to become preoccupied 
with it. They speculate on various possible ideas, filling out the details of 
complex fantasy worlds, or developing clever and convincing theories be¬ 
cause their thinking is more aimed at keeping their practical and emo¬ 
tional problems at bay than at really attempting to explore or create. 

Insofar as Fives have been wounded in their ability to feel strong 
and capable, they need to spend time engaging in fantasies of power 
and control. They may gravitate to computer and board games based 
on themes of conquest, battling monsters, world domination, and 
techno-erotic elements of sadism and power. 

Jeff is a software designer who knows this territory well. 

I used to play these very complicated strategy board games. They 
have them on all kinds of themes, although most of them are about 
different battles or wars. It would take me days to figure out the 
rules, and then most of the time, I couldn’t find anyone else who was 
interested in playing them. Sometimes I would play them myself! And 
when computer versions came out—oh boy! Then I didn’t have to 


“What if?.. 






2 2 4 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


depend on anyone.These games take many hours to play, but the ap¬ 
peal of them is in the detail and the feeling of really winning a battle 
or building a city or whatever.You come away from them fantasizing 
about your troops marching in and conquering the enemy. I was 
hooked on playing them until I realized how much time they took, 
and how much better off I’d be if I applied that energy and strategy 
to my own real life. 

Unhealthy Fives can get trapped in bizarre “realities” entirely of 
their own making, like dreamers caught in nightmares from which they 
cannot awaken. 

BALANCING THE INNER AND OUTER WORLDS 

Fantasizing, theorizing, and speculating can all be enjoyable pastimes, but learn to honestly assess when 
you are using them to avoid more troubling issues in your real life. How many hours of your day are spent 
in these pursuits? What might you do with your time if you cut back your investment in these cerebral ac¬ 
tivities? 


Unconscious Anxieties and Terrifying Thoughts 

As strange as it might sound, Fives think a lot about the things that 
they find the most frightening. They may even make a career out of 
studying or creating works of art out of things that scare them. A Five 
afraid of diseases might become a pathologist; another Five who suf¬ 
fered from “monsters under the bed” in childhood may grow up to be 
a science fiction or horror writer or film director. 

Now a psychological writer, Rich remembers how he overcame 
some of his earliest terrors. 

Before I was even in kindergarten, some older kids took me with 
them to see a Saturday afternoon matinee. The movie was about 
Vikings and was very bloody, at least for a kid my age. I came home 
really shaken up. I was terrified at the sight of blood and had a lot of 
nightmares about it. But after that, I wanted to go to every scary 
movie that came out. Monsters, dinosaurs, aliens, and mass destruc¬ 
tion were my favorite topics. I couldn’t get enough of it. 

Fives try to control fear by focusing their thoughts on the frighten¬ 
ing thing itself, not on their feelings about it. But they cannot wholly 
avoid the emotional impact of these ideas—with the result that they 
both consciously and unconsciously fill their minds with disturbing im- 







TYPE 


FIVE: THE 


INVESTIGATOR 


2 2 5 


ages. Over time, their split-off feelings can begin to come back to haunt 
them in their dreams and fantasies and in other unexpected ways. 

This is particularly distressing to them, because average Fives be¬ 
lieve that their own thoughts are the only aspect of reality that can be 
completely trusted. To have their own thoughts seem out of control or 
frightening causes them to cut off from more activities that might trig¬ 
ger fearful associations. If they once enjoyed astronomy, for example, 
they might begin to be afraid to go outside at night: the emptiness of 
the sky completely unsettles them. 

Jane, an art director who also sculpts, vividly recounts such an ex¬ 
perience. 

When I was about seven years old, I got very interested in studying 
the human body. I loved to read about the internal organs and look 
at the transparencies of them in our family encyclopedia. I also 
started reading books and articles about health and disease. I re¬ 
member one summer day reading an article about cancer caused by 
smoking in the Reader’s Digest. It described people on a cancer ward 
with tracheotomies, iron lungs, and other forms of radical surgery. I 
was stunned. Suddenly, at age seven, I understood what death was, 
and it was not the way my parents had described it. I couldn’t stop 
thinking about it I grew sullen and stopped eating. Everyone was 
going to die. I stayed up at night wondering what death was like and 
if there really was a God. I must say, the more I thought about it, the 
more skeptical I was. I even went around looking at dead animals.This 
went on for several years. I guess I just got used to it after a while. 

STARING INTO THE ABYSS 

Observe your attraction to the “dark side” of life. While this orientation may be useful in understanding 
this aspect of human existence, beware of a tendency to become obsessed with such matters. Notice how 
these interests affect your sleep habits. Many Fives also find it helpful to investigate possible traumas in their 
childhood or infancy. These traumatic events often lead to a compulsive interest in disturbing subjects. Is 
your interest in these topics harming your ability to function in the world? 

Argumentativeness, Nihilism, and Extremism 

Every type has aggressions. Because their own ideas arc virtually the 
only source of security Fives have, they propound and defend them “j can > t y e li eve w bat 

with passion—even though they may not actually even believe the po- idiots people are ” 

sition they are taking themselves. * 

Low-average Fives are antagonistic toward anyone or anything that 







2 2 6 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


interferes with their inner world and personal vision. They are offended 
by others’ apparent peace of mind, and they enjoy subverting and un¬ 
dermining people’s beliefs. They may affront, provoke, or shock others 
with intentionally extreme views. Such Fives want to scare people off so 
that they can be left alone to pursue their interests, and so that they can 
feel intellectually superior by rejecting the “stupidity” and “blindness” 
of others. No longer careful thinkers, they jump to conclusions and im¬ 
pose their own extreme interpretations of the facts. If others disagree, 
Fives can turn nasty and caustic. If this behavior continues, they may 
well succeed in driving everyone out of their lives. 

If Fives are unable to find a niche for themselves, they can quickly 
fall into a cynical apathy, losing faith in themselves and in the entire 
human condition. Of all types. Fives are the most prone to feelings of 
meaninglessness, and many Fives become deeply skeptical about the ex¬ 
istence of benevolent forces in the universe. 


UNSETTLING OTHERS 


When you find yourself getting into debates with people or otherwise worked up, notice what you are 
feeling in your body. How important is it to make the point you are driving home? What effect are you try¬ 
ing to produce in the other? What motives or beliefs are you ascribing to them? What are you afraid of? 


REACTING TO 
STRESS: 
FIVE GOES TO 
SEVEN 


Fives attempt to cope with stress by becoming increasingly narrow 
in their focus and by retreating into the sanctuary of their thoughts. 
When this method of coping fails to allay their anxiety, they may go to 
Seven, reacting against their isolation by impulsively throwing them¬ 
selves into activities. They become restless and agitated—their minds 
speed up and they feel compelled to distract themselves from their 
growing fears. Further, anxiety about finding a niche may cause them 
to become scattered in their pursuits. Like average Sevens, they bounce 
from activity to activity, from idea to idea, but seem unable to find or 
connect with anything that satisfies them. 

After cutting off from their needs, especially sensory and nurturing 
needs, Fives going to Seven act out by searching indiscriminately for 
stimulation and experience. Generally, these diversions have little to do 
with their professional projects—they may immerse themselves in 
movies, or in drinking or drug binges, or sexual escapades. They may 
start to secretly frequent bars, swinger clubs, or stranger, more unusual 
“scenes” that would come as a surprise to others who believe they know 
them—if others ever found out. 

Under extreme stress, Fives defend against their anxieties by be¬ 
coming aggressive and insensitive in their pursuit of whatever they feel 






TYPE 


FIVE: THE 


INVESTIGATOR 


2 2 7 


they want at the time—like less healthy Sevens. They may also take so¬ 
lace in substance abuse of various kinds. 


If Fives are overstressed for an extended period of time, if they have 
suffered a serious crisis without adequate support or coping skills, or if 
they have suffered from chronic abuse in childhood, they may cross the 
shock point into the unhealthy aspects of their type. This may lead 
them to a fearful recognition that the projects they have been pursuing 
and the lifestyle that they have created are actually ruining their 
chances of finding a real niche for themselves. 

If Fives can recognize the truth in these fears, they may begin to turn 
their life around and move toward health and liberation. On the other 
hand, they may attempt to cut off all connection with others, essentially 
turning their backs on the world in order to further isolate themselves 
from “intrusions” so that they can follow their train of thought to a “log¬ 
ical conclusion”—usually a dark and self-destructive one. (“To hell with 
everyone! No one’s going to hurt me anymore!”) Of course, such a retreat 
can only undermine whatever shreds of confidence Fives still possess. If 
Fives persist in this attitude, they may cross into the unhealthy Levels. If 
you or someone you know is exhibiting the following warning signs for 
an extended period of time—more than a few weeks—getting counsel¬ 
ing, therapy, or other support is highly advisable. 


THE RED FLAG: 
THE FIVE IN 
TROUBLE 

▲ 


WARNING SIGNS 


POTENTIAL PATHOLOGY: 
Schizoid, Schizotypal, and 
Avoidant Personality Disorders, 
psychotic breaks, dissociation, 
depression, and suicide. 


► Increasing tendency to isolate themselves 

► Chronic physical neglect, letting themselves go 

► Chronic and severe insomnia, nightmares, and sleep disorders 

► Increasing eccentricity—loss of interest in social skills 

► Refusing help, or even being hostile to it 

► Distorted perceptions, hallucinations 

► Talk of suicide 


► Remember that your mind is clearest and most powerful when it is 
quiet. Take the time to cultivate this quiet in yourself, and do not confuse 
it with an insistence that your external world be silent. Rather, learn to no¬ 
tice your nonstop internal commentary on all of your experiences. What 
arises when you simply take in an impression of the moment without 


PRACTICES THAT 
HELP FIVES 
DEVELOP 





2 2 8 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


connecting it with what you think you already know? Being connected 
with your physical sensations will gready help you quiet your mind. 

► Use your body! Of all of the types, you probably feel you could 
almost do without your body, and it is easy for you to spend many 
hours at the computer or reading or listening to music. While there is 
nothing wrong with any of these activities, your balance requires more 
physical activity. Try running, yoga, dancing, martial arts, working out, 
even taking a walk. When your body is awake and your blood is flow¬ 
ing, your mind is much sharper and you have more internal resources. 

► Make the effort to reach out to others, especially when you are 
feeling vulnerable and afraid. As a Five, you have been conditioned not 
to expect support from anyone, even to be suspicious of help. But this 
belief is probably not applicable to your current situation, and you can 
use your intelligence to figure out who will be stable and there for you 
when you are having troubles. Speak up. Make your needs known, and 
you may be surprised. Your tendency to isolate usually only gets you 
deeper into your own trap. 

► Think carefully about what areas are most debilitating to your 
self-confidence. Learning more about world geography will not help 
you if you feel physically weak, but working out and exercising will. 
Composing another song will not do much for you if you are really 
worried about meeting people. You can continue working on whatever 
projects interest you, but it can be very powerful to explore more di¬ 
rectly some of the areas of your life that you have cut off. 

► Risk feeling your grief. Most Fives split off their awareness from 
their pains and hurts, especially from feelings of rejection. You know 
what it is like when those feelings are closer to the surface. Don’t swal¬ 
low them. In a safe and appropriate place, allow yourself to sense your 
heart and the feelings that are locked there. This can be even more 
powerful if you can do it with a witness: a friend, your therapist, or 
anyone that you trust. Ask the person not to give you pep talks but sim¬ 
ply to be there as a witness to your pain and struggles. 

► As you become more balanced and grounded in your body, let 
your impressions of others and of the world around you affect you— 
let the world in. You will not lose yourself, you will gain the world. This 
will give you the sense of confidence and well-being that you have been 
seeking—and it will give you many new insights in the process. Just re¬ 
member not to get lost in pondering the insights, and to return to 
planet earth. Remember, this is your life: you are not an abstraction, and 
your presence here can and does matter. 



TYPE 


FIVE: THE 


INVESTIGATOR 


2 2 9 


The Five’s main gifts to the world involve their tremendous insight 
and understanding, coupled with some area of expertise. Understanding 
allows healthy Fives to comprehend many points of view at the same 
time, to understand both the whole and its component parts. Healthy 
Fives can entertain many different perspectives without being 
attached to any of them. They are able to determine which way of look¬ 
ing at a problem will be the most useful in any given set of circumstances. 

Fives are extraordinarily observant .and perceptive. They are sensi¬ 
tive to their environment and perceive subtle changes or discrepancies 
that others would likely overlook. Many Fives seem to have one or two 
of their senses developed to an unusual degree. One Five might have un¬ 
usual visual acuity with regard to color, while another Five might really 
be tuned in to sounds, recognizing rhythms and pitches easily. 

Fives do not lose their childhood curiosity: they keep asking ques¬ 
tions, such as, “Why is the sky blue?” or “Why do things fall down and 
not up?” Fives do not take anything for granted—if they want to know 
what is under a rock, they get a spade, dig out the rock, and take a good 
look. Fives also seem to have an extraordinary ability to concentrate and 
to focus their attention, and they can do so for long periods of time. 
Further, they are extremely patient in the course of exploring whatever 
has captivated them. Focus and patience give them the ability to stay 
with projects long enough to mine gold from them. 

Because of their' curiosity and open-mindedness, healthy Fives are 
highly innovative and inventive. The ability to explore and play with ideas 
can produce valuable, practical, and original works and discoveries— 
from paradigms in science or medicine, to startling new achievements in 
the arts, to finding a new way to store old boxes in the garage. Not satis¬ 
fied with the sound of a cello, a Five might record the cello and play the 
tape backward while altering the tone of the recording. Fives who are sci¬ 
entifically oriented make discoveries precisely because they become inter¬ 
ested in the exceptions to the rules. They focus on the areas where the rules 
break down or on minor inconsistencies that seem unimportant to others. 

Fives enjoy sharing their findings with others, and they often serve 
up their observations of life’s contradictions with a whimsical sense of 
humor. They are endlessly amused—and horrified—by the unfolding 
strangeness of life, and they communicate this to others by changing 
the picture ever so slightly to expose previously invisible absurdities. 
They enjoy tinkering with things, which can take expression in dark 
humor, puns, and wordplay. There is a mischievous, sprightly, elfin 
quality to them. They like to provoke people into thinking more deeply 
about life and humor often serves as an excellent way of communicat¬ 
ing ideas that would otherwise be too threatening. 


BUILDING ON 
THE FIVE’S 
STRENGTHS 

A 


"If you love it enough, anything 
will talk with you.” 

George Washington Carver 



2 3 0 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


THE PATH OF 
INTEGRATION: 
FIVE GOES TO 
EIGHT 


Fives actualize themselves and remain healthy by learning to re¬ 
claim and occupy their physical presence and their instinctual energy 
in the manner of healthy Eights. This is because the basis of confi¬ 
dence, the feeling of being full, strong, and capable, arises from the in¬ 
stinctual energy of the body, not from mental structures. Thus, 
integrating Fives grow by coming down out of their heads, and coming 
'into deeper felt contact with their vitality and physicality. 

Moving into greater contact with the life of the body usually brings 
up intense anxiety for Fives. They feel as if they are going to lose their 
only defense: the sanctuary of their mind. The mind feels safe, reliable, 
and impregnable; the body feels weak, vulnerable, and unreliable. 
Further, deeper contact with the body begins to allow powerful feelings 
of grief and sorrow over Fives’ long isolation to come into awareness. 
Yet only by staying grounded in the body can they feel the inner sup¬ 
port to process these long-suppressed feelings. 

As they learn to stay with their instinctual energies, Fives begin 
to participate more fully in their worlds and to apply their knowledge 
and skill to immediate practical problems. Rather than evading re¬ 
sponsibility by retreating from others, integrating Fives feel empowered 
to take on major challenges and often assume leadership roles. Others 
intuitively sense that Fives are seeking positive solutions without self- 
interest and therefore rally to support them in their projects. By join¬ 
ing the real world, Fives do not lose their mental abilities or the 
expertise they cultivated in isolation; rather, they harness those gifts 
strategically and constructively like high-functioning Eights. 

Fives will not benefit much, however, by attempting to imitate the 
qualities of average Eights. Focusing on self-protection, cutting off 
from their vulnerability, and seeing relationships as confrontations will 
do little to help Fives overcome their detachment and feelings of social 
isolation. But as Fives begin to directly experience and work through 
their identifications with their minds, the strength, willpower, and con¬ 
fidence that are the assets of the healthy Eight naturally come into play. 


TRANSFORMING 
PERSONALITY 
INTO ESSENCE 


When we are really present to life, when we are relaxed and engaged 
in our bodies, we begin to experience an inner knowing or guidance. We 
are led toward exactly what we need to know and our choices come from 
this inner wisdom. But when we lose the ground of Presence out of 
which this Essential guidance emerges, the personality takes over and 
tries to figure out what to do. 

The “wrong turn” that Fives make is to become identified with their ob¬ 
servations of their experiences rather than their experiences themselves. Fives are 
the kind of people who try to learn how to dance by watching people danc¬ 
ing from the sidelines. (“Let’s see, she made two steps left, then a kick and 



TYPE 


FIVE: THE 


INVESTIGATOR 


2 3 I 


a kind of twirl. Then he sort of flips her back.. ..”) Eventually they might 
learn the dance, but by the time they figure it out, the dance will be over. 

Naturally, Fives face the same dilemma in their entire lives: they try 
to figure out how to live life without actually living it. When they are 
present and grounded, however, Fives are able to know exactly what 
they need to know, when they need to know it. The answer to a ques¬ 
tion arises not from a chattering brain but from a clear mind that is at¬ 
tuned to reality. Insight arises spontaneously as it is called forth by 
individual circumstances. Real inner guidance and support can thus be 
regained if Fives let go of a particular self-image—that they are separate 
from the environment, mere flies on the wall—and begin to become 
engaged with reality. Liberated Fives know that they do not have to be 
afraid of reality because they are part of it. 

Further, there is a new immediacy to their perceptions, and they 
are able to comprehend their experiences without the usual mental 
commentary. They are awed by the majesty of reality, clear-minded and 
trusting of the universe. Einstein once said, “The only question worth 
asking is, ‘Is the universe friendly?’ ” Liberated Fives have an answer to 
that question. They are enraptured by what they see rather than scared 
to death, and they become truly visionary, potentially bringing revolu¬ 
tionary change to their field of endeavor. 


"At the back of our brains, so 
to speak, there [is] a forgotten 
blaze or burst of astonishment at 
our own existence. The object of 
the artistic and spiritual life [is] to 
dig for this submerged sunrise of 
wonder.” 


G. K. Chesterton 


THE EMERGENCE OF ESSENCE 

The Fives drive for knowledge and mastery is the personality’s at¬ 
tempt to re-create an Essence quality that we might call clarity or inner 
knowing. With clarity comes the Essential quality of nonattachment, 
which is not emotional repression or detachment but the lack of iden¬ 
tification with any particular point of view. Fives understand that any 
position or idea is useful only in a very limited set of circumstances, 
perhaps only in the unique set of circumstances in which it arose. Inner 
guidance allows them to flow from one way of seeing things to another 
without getting fixated on any of them. 

Liberated Fives remember the spaciousness and clarity of the 
Divine Mind, what the Buddhists call “the shining Void,” or Sunyata, 
the quiet, undisturbed vastness from which everything arises, includ¬ 
ing all knowledge and creativity. They long to return to an experience 
of the Void because it was once their home, as it was (from the 
Buddhist perspective) the origin of everyone and everything in the 
world. This longing to return to the Void must be understood prop¬ 
erly, however, since it is not the emptiness of oblivion, but the “empti¬ 
ness” of a glass of pure water or of a perfect blue sky: everything else 
is possible because of their emptiness. In this state, they are liberated 



2 3 2 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


from the belief that they are cut off from everyone and everything, 
and instead, they directly experience their underlying connection with 
everything around them. 

Further, this emptiness and nonattachment does not mean that 
Fives are removed from their feelings. On the contrary, they can be 
deeply touched by a sunset or the feeling of a breeze, or by the beauty 
of a human face. They are free to feel and experience everything while 
recognizing that everything they behold is temporary—a fleeting gift 
from a universe of infinite bounty. Seeing more profoundly into the 
truth of the human condition, they feel great compassion for the suf¬ 
fering of others and are willing to share not only the riches of their 
minds but also the depths of their own hearts. 


Add your scores for 


the fifteen statements 

► 15 You are probably not a withdrawn 

for; Type Five. Your 

type (Four, Five, or Nine). 

result will be between 

► 15-30 You are probably not a Type Five. 

15 and 75. The fob 

► 30-45 You most probably have Five-issues or 

lowing: guidelines 

a Type Five parent. 

may help you dis- 

► 45-60 You most likely have a Five-compo- 

cover or confirm 

nent. 

your personality 

► 60-75 You are most likely a Five (but could 

type. 

still be another type if you are think- 


ing too narrowly about Type Five). 


■)' 


Fives are most 
likely to 
misidentijy 
themselves as 
Fours, Sixes, or 
Ones. Nines, 
Threes, and 
Ones are most 
likely to 
misidentijy 
themselves as 
Fives. 








CHAPTER 12 


TYPE SIX: 

THE 

LOYALIST 


“Our imagination and reasoning powers facilitate anxiety; the anxious 
feeling is precipitated not by an absolute impending threat—such as the 
ivorry about an examination, a speech, travel—but rather by the symbolic 
and often unconscious representations. ” 

—Willard Gaylin 


“No man ever quite believes in another man. One may believe in an idea 
absolutely, but not in a man. ” 

—H. L. Mencken 


“A man who doesn’t trust himself can never really trust anyone else. ’’ 

—Cardinal de Retz 


“Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true secu¬ 
rity to be found. ” 



THE GUARDIAN 


THE TRUE BELIEVER 


THE DOUBTER 


THE TROUBLESHOOTER 


THE TRADITIONALIST 


THE STALWART 


—Anne Morrow Lindbergh 





THE 

RISO-HUDSON 


I am attracted to authority but distrustful of it at the same 
time. 


TAS 


Type 

Attitude 

Sorter 


2. I am very emotional, although I don’t often show what I 
feel—except to those I’m close with—and even then, not al¬ 
ways. 

3. If I make a mistake, I fear that everyone is going to jump 
down my throat. 

4. I feel more secure doing what’s expected of me than strik¬ 
ing out on my own. 

5. I may not always agree with the rules—and I don’t always 
follow them—but I want to know what they are! 


_ 6. I tend to have strong first impressions about people that are 

difficult to change. 

Score each of the follow¬ 
ing statements according 
to how true or applicable 
to you it is on the follow¬ 
ing scale: 

anyone else to make them tor me! 


7. There are a few people I really look up to—they are sort of 
my heroes. 

8. I don’t like making big decisions, but I certainly don’t want ‘ 


1 . Not at All True 

2 . Seldom True 

3 . Somewhat True 


9. Some people see me as jittery and nervous—but they don’t 
know the half of it! 

10. I know how much I mess up, so being suspicious of what 
others are up to just makes sense to me. 


4 . Generally True 

5 . Very True 


11. I want to trust people, but often find myself questioning 
their motives. 

12. I am a real hard worker: I keep plodding along until the job 
gets done. 

13. I sound out the opinions of people I trust before I have to 
make a big decision. 

14. It’s really weird: I can be skeptical, even cynical, about all 
kinds of things, and then turn around and fall for some¬ 
thing hook, line, and sinker. 


See page 259for 
scoring key. 


15. Anxiety seems to be my middle name. 








TYPE 


SIX: THE 


LOYALIST 


2 3 5 


PERSONALITY TYPE SIX: THE LOYALIST 


The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: 

Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious 

We have named personality type Six the Loyalist because, of all the 
personality types, Sixes are the most loyal to their friends and to their be¬ 
liefs. They will go down with the ship and hang on to relationships of all 
kinds far longer than most other types. Sixes are also loyal to ideas, sys¬ 
tems, and beliefs—even to the belief that all ideas or authorities should 
be questioned or defied. Indeed, not all Sixes go along with the status 
quo: their beliefs may be rebellious and antiauthoritarian, even revolu¬ 
tionary. In any case, they will typically fight for their beliefs more fiercely 
than they will fight for themselves, and they will defend their commu¬ 
nity or family more tenaciously than they will defend themselves. 

The reason Sixes are so loyal to others is that they do not want to 
be abandoned and left without support—their Basic Fear. Thus, the 
central issue for Type Six is a failure of self-confidence. Sixes come to 
believe that they do not possess the internal resources to handle life’s 
challenges and vagaries alone and so increasingly rely on structures, al¬ 
lies, beliefs, and supports outside themselves for guidance. If suitable 
structures do not exist, they will help create and maintain them. 

Sixes are the primary type in the Thinking Triad, meaning that 
they have the most trouble contacting their own inner guidance. As a 
result, they do not have confidence in their own minds and judgments. 
This does not mean that they do not think. On the contrary, they 
think—and worry—a lot! They also tend to fear making important de¬ 
cisions, although at the same time, they resist having anyone else make 
decisions for them. They want to avoid being controlled but are also 
afraid of taking responsibility in a way that might put them in the line 
of fire. (The old Japanese adage, “The blade of grass that grows too 
high gets chopped off,” relates to this idea.) 

Sixes are always aware of their anxieties and are always looking for 
ways to construct “social security” bulwarks against them. If Sixes feel that 
they have sufficient backup, they can move forward with some degree of 
confidence. But if that crumbles, they become anxious and self-doubting, 
reawakening their Basic Fear. (“I’m on my own! What am I going to do 
now?”) A good question for Sixes might therefore be: “When will I know 
that I have enough security?” Or to get right to the heart of it, “What is 
security?” Without Essential inner guidance and the deep sense of sup¬ 
port that it brings, Sixes are constantly struggling to find firm ground. 

Sixes attempt to build a network of trust over a background of un¬ 
steadiness and fear. They are often filled with a nameless anxiety and 


► BASIC FEAR: Of having 
no support and guid¬ 
ance, of being unable to 
survive on their own 

► BASIC DESIRE: To find 
security and support 

► SUPEREGO MESSAGE: 
“You are good or okay if 
you do what is expected 
of you.” 





2 3 6 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


then try to find or create reasons why. Wanting to feel that there is 
something solid and clear-cut in their lives, they can become attached 
to explanations or positions that seem to explain their situation. 
Because “belief” (trust, faith, convictions, positions) is difficult for 
Sixes to achieve, and because it is so important to their sense of stabil¬ 
ity, once they establish a trustworthy belief, they do not easily question 
it, nor do they want others to do so. The same is true for individuals in 
a Six’s life: once Sixes feel they can trust someone, they go to great 
lengths to maintain connections with the person who acts as a sound¬ 
ing board, a mentor, or a regulator for the Six’s emotional reactions and 
behavior. They therefore do everything in their power to keep their af¬ 
filiation going. (“If I don’t trust myself, then I have to find something 
in this world I can trust.”) 

Although intelligent and accomplished, Connie still has to wrestle 
with the self-doubt of her type. 

As my anxiety has come under control, so has my need to check out 
everything with my friends. I used to have to get the nod of approval 
from several hundred (just joking!) “authorities.” About nearly every 
decision would involve a council of my friends. I usually would do this 
one-on-one: “What do you think, Mary? If I do this, then that might 
happen. Please make up my mind for me!” ... Recently, I’ve narrowed 
my authorities to just one or two trusted friends, and on occasion, 

I’ve actually made up my own mind! 

Until they can get in touch with their own inner guidance, Sixes are 
like a Ping-Pong ball that is constantly shuttling back and forth between 
whatever influence is hitting the hardest in any given moment. Because 
of this reactivity, no matter what we say about Sixes, the opposite is often 
also as true. They are both strong and weak, fearful and courageous, 
trusting and distrusting, defenders and provokers, sweet and sour, ag¬ 
gressive and passive, bullies and weaklings, on the defensive and on the 
offensive, thinkers and doers, group people and soloists, believers and 
doubters, cooperative and obstructionistic, tender and mean, generous 
and petty—and on and on. It is the contradictory picture that is the 
characteristic “fingerprint” of Sixes, the fact that they are a bundle of op¬ 
posites. 

The biggest problem for Sixes is that they try to build safety in the 
environment without resolving their own emotional insecurities. When 
they learn to face their anxieties, however, Sixes understand that al¬ 
though the world is always changing and is by nature uncertain, they 
can be serene and courageous in any circumstance. And they can attain 
the greatest gift of all, a sense of peace with themselves despite the un¬ 
certainties of life. 



TYPE 


SIX: THE 


LOYALIST 


2 3 7 


THE CHILDHOOD PATTERN 

The Basic Fear of Sixes (of being without support or guidance and 
of being unable to survive on their own) is a very real and universal fear 
of every child. A small infant cannot live without Mommy and Daddy; 
the child is absolutely dependent on them. Clear memories of the ter¬ 
ror behind this dependency are repressed in most people. But some¬ 
times they are intense enough to break through, as in the case of Ralph, 
a consultant in his fifties. 

I remember waking up in my crib and standing up and holding on to 
the side of it I heard my parents laughing and talking with the neigh¬ 
bors while they played cards in the living room. I would hear the click 
of the cards as they were being dealt around the table. I called sev¬ 
eral times for my mother to come up to my darkened bedroom. Each 
time my fear increased. In desperation I then called several times for 
my father. No one came up to see what I wanted, and I finally went 
to sleep. Until I was eleven years old, I would not let my parents out 
of my sight if we were more than ten miles from home. I was afraid 
they would abandon me. 


Please note that the child¬ 
hood pattern we are de¬ 
scribing here does not 
cause the personality type. 
Rather, it describes ten¬ 
dencies that we observe in 
early childhood that have 
a major impact on the 
types adtdt relationships. 


At a certain point in their development, however, toddlers do a re¬ 
markable thing. Despite their tremendous dependency, they begin to 
move away from their mothers, to assert their independence and au¬ 
tonomy; in child psychology, this is called the separation phase. 

One of the most important ingredients that helps the child find 
the courage to separate from the mother is the presence of the father- 
figure. (This is not always the biological father, although it often is. It 
is the person who provides discipline, structure, and authority in the 
family.) If the father-figure is present in a strong and consistent way, 
he provides the guidance and support for the child’s bid for indepen¬ 
dence. He teaches the child about the ways of the world—what is safe 
and what is not—and mirrors the child’s own Essential inner guidance 
and support. Of course, for most of us, this process has gone some¬ 
what less than perfectly, resulting in our insecurities as adults. But 
while everyone experiences this to some extent, Sixes are particularly 
fixated on it. 

Further, if the Six child perceives that the father’s support for inde¬ 
pendence is insufficient, he may feel in danger of being overwhelmed 
by the mother and all she represents to him. This heightens the child’s 
need to keep up his guard and leads to Type Six’s deep ambivalence and 
anxiety about trust, nurturance, and closeness. Thus, Sixes long for ap¬ 
proval and closeness but feel the need to defend against it at the same 
time. They want to be supported but not overwhelmed. 




THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

Joseph, a journalist in his forties, has explored some of these issues 
in therapy. 

I had a very powerful, controlling, somewhat dazzling mother. She was 
capable of withdrawing her love at a moment’s notice, angrily, and 
often inexplicably. It was a highly conditional love, and depended 
above all on absolute loyalty—to her values, beliefs, and judgments, 
no matter how erratic and off the wall they might be. I often felt that 
it was my role to confront my mother—to fight for my own survival. 

The problem was that my approach was negative: I resisted her and 
survived but never felt confident that I had prevailed. It was never 
going to be possible to both win the approval of others (most no¬ 
tably my mother) while also maintaining my independence and de¬ 
veloping my own sense of self. 

To resolve this dilemma, Sixes try to form an alliance with the father- 
figure. But this usually leads to ambivalence—the father-figure/authority 
seems either too strict and controlling, or too unsupportive and uninter¬ 
ested. Many Sixes end up in an uneasy compromise: they offer outward 
obedience yet retain a feeling of independence through inward rebellion 
and cynicism, as well as large and small acts of passive-aggression. 


THE WING 
SUBTYPES 


Examples 

Robert Kennedy 
Malcolm X 
Tom Clancy 
Bruce Springsteen 
Michelle Pfeiffer 
Diane Keaton 
Gloria Steinem 
Candice Bergen 
Mel Gibson 
Janet Reno 
Richard Nixon 


THE SIX WITH A FIVE-WING: THE DEFENDER 

Healthy People of this subtype often excel at various kinds of 
technical expertise, making them outstanding practical problem- 
solvers, analysts, social commentators, teachers, and opinion leaders. 
They are attracted to systems of knowledge where the rules and param¬ 
eters are well established, such as mathematics,- law, and the sciences. 
They often have greater powers of concentration than the other sub- 
type, although they can be narrower in their concerns. Political causes 
and community service are areas of interest, and they often serve as 
spokespeople or champions for disadvantaged groups or individuals. 

Average They are more independent and serious than the other 
subtype, and less likely to go to others for reassurance or advice. They 
are often loners. They get reassurance from systems and beliefs, while 
remaining skeptical. People of this subtype tend to see the world as 
dangerous, leading to partisan stances and reactionary positions. 
Secretiveness can fuel suspicion, and they usually see themselves as re¬ 
bellious and antiauthoritarian, while ironically constantly being drawn 
to systems, alliances, and beliefs that contain strong authoritarian ele¬ 
ments. Sixes with a Five-wing are reactive and aggressive, typically 
tending to blame or scapegoat perceived threats to their security. 



TYPE 


SIX: THE 


LOYALIST 


2 3 9 


THE SIX WITH A SEVEN-WING: THE BUDDY 

Healthy Engaging and funny, people of this subtype are less seri¬ 
ous than the other subtype-—they tend to avoid “heavy” topics and re¬ 
strict their focus to their security needs (taxes, bills, office politics, and 
the like). They are serious, however, about commitments and make sac¬ 
rifices to ensure the safety and well-being of their family and friends. 
They also enjoy good company, kidding around, and emphasizing their 
connections with others. People of this subtype combine interpersonal 
qualities with energy, humor, and a zest for experience. They can also 
be self-deprecating, turning their fears into occasions for joking and 
bonding with others. 

Average These people are eager to be liked and accepted, but they 
are also more hesitant to speak out about themselves or their problems. 
While sociable, they are also visibly insecure and depend on loved ones 
for reassurance and advice before coming to important decisions. They 
have problems with procrastination and initiating projects on their 
own. They tend to get into diversions and distractions to quiet that 
anxiety, including sports, shopping, and “hanging out” with others. 
Overeating, drinking, and substance abuse are possible. They are not 
particularly political but can be opinionated and vocal about their likes 
and dislikes. Anxiety about personal failings or important relationships 
can lead to depression. 


Examples 

Princess Diana 
Tom Hanks 
Meg Ryan 
Julia Roberts 
Jay Leno 
Ellen DeGeneres 
Gilda Radner 
Katie Co uric 
Jack Lemmon 
Rush Limbaugh 
“George Costanza” 


THE SELF-PRESERVATION INSTINCT IN THE SIX 

Responsibility. In the average range, Self-Preservation Sixes at¬ 
tempt to allay their survival anxieties by working hard to build up se¬ 
curity through mutual responsibility. They offer service and 
commitment with the expectation that it will be reciprocated by oth¬ 
ers. Although they seek secure partnerships, Self-Preservation Sixes 
tend to make friends slowly: they observe others over time to see if they 
are trustworthy and truly “on their side.” They are more domestic than 
the other variants and are frequently concerned with maintaining the 
stability of their home life. They often take care of the security needs 
of the household: bills, taxes, insurance, and the like. 

Self-Preservation Sixes do not easily disguise their anxiety and 
neediness. In fact, they may use it to gain allies and supporters—vul¬ 
nerability can elicit help from others. They tend to fret about small 
things, which can lead to catastrophic thinking and worst-case scenar¬ 
ios. (“The rent is five days late? We re going to be evicted for sure! ’) 
Self-Preservation Sixes are usually frugal, and worry a great deal about 
financial matters. Conflicts with others over resources are common. 



240 THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

In the unhealthy range, Self-Preservation Sixes are extremely clingy, 
dependent, and panicky. They stay in punishing situations—bad mar¬ 
riages or overly stressful jobs—because they are terrified of being without 
support. They may grasp at relationships with such forceful anxiety that 
they end up alienating the very people they want to bond with. Paranoia 
may also drive them to become more aggressive: they exaggerate dangers 
and strike out at “enemies” to ensure that no one will be able to threaten 
them. Ironically, this often ends up destroying their own security sys¬ 
tems. 


THE 

INSTINCTUAL 

VARIANTS 


THE SOCIAL INSTINCT IN THE SIX 

Generating Support. In the average range, Social Sixes handle 
anxiety by looking to friends and allies for reassurance and support. 
They project friendliness and attempt to create bonds with others, dis¬ 
arming them with warmth and humor. They often make fun of them¬ 
selves while offering support and affection to others, and they can 
sometimes be mistaken for Twos. Social Sixes are the most concerned 
about fitting in. (“There’s safety in numbers.”) They are fairly idealis¬ 
tic, enjoying the feeling of being part of something larger than them¬ 
selves—a cause or corporation or movement or group—and are willing 
to make major sacrifices for the security of that affiliation. 

Social Sixes can also sometimes resemble Ones in their adherence 
to protocols and procedures. They look for reassurance through com¬ 
mitments, obligations, and contracts—insurance that their hard work 
will not be taken advantage of. When they are more insecure, Social 
Sixes look for places of safety where like-minded individuals help each 
other out (twelve-step groups). 

Although able to make major efforts for others or for their group, 
Social Sixes can often have difficulty working for their own success or 
development. Anxiety can lead them to look for consensus before they 
act or make decisions; anxiety also leads them to reference the poten¬ 
tial responses of others in their imagination. Their own indecisiveness 
bothers them, however, and leads to ambivalence about depending on 
allies or authorities. They fear losing the support of the group or au¬ 
thority but chafe at the bit. If frustrated, they can develop passive- 
aggressive issues with authorities and friends. Under stress, they easily 
feel pressured, overworked, and underappreciated. At such times, they 
can be negative and pessimistic. 

In the unhealthy range, Social Sixes may become attracted to fa¬ 
natical beliefs, causes, and groups. They may develop an “us against the 
world” mentality, feeling besieged by a hostile environment (somewhat 
like an unhealthy Eight). They can be unquestioning of their beliefs 



TYPE 


SIX: THE LOYALIST 


2 4 


(even if others find their beliefs to be questionable) and slavish to a par¬ 
ticular authority while being extremely paranoid about authorities not 
in alignment with their own belief systems. 


THE SEXUAL INSTINCT IN THE SIX 

Symbols of Power and Connection. In the average range, Sexual 
Sixes develop physical strength, power, and/or physical attractiveness to 
feel safe. More aggressive Sexual Sixes rely on strength and displays of 
toughness that can resemble Type Eight (“Don’t mess with me”), while 
more phobic Sexual Sixes use their sexuality and coquettishness to dis¬ 
arm others and attract support in ways that can resemble Type Four. 
They mask their insecurities through open assertion and defiance of 
authority, or through flirtation and seduction. 

Sexual Sixes are highly aware of their physical attributes—for in¬ 
stance, spending time in gyms—although not for health reasons but to 
enhance their strength and appeal. Sexual Sixes want to attract a pow¬ 
erful and capable mate, so they frequently test the other, both to see if 
they will stay with them, as well as to give themselves time to assess the 
other person’s character and fortitude. 

Sexual Sixes are more openly defiant of authority than the other 
Instinctual Variants of the Six, especially when anxious. They are also 
the most doubting of others and of themselves. They can have explo¬ 
sive emotional reactions when their own insecurities are exposed or 
their connections with others are threatened. When anxious, they may 
assert themselves against their own supporters or third parties rather 
than at the true source of their anxieties. Attempts at sabotaging others, 
or undermining their reputations in various ways, especially through 
rumor-mongering, are typical. 

In the unhealthy range, Sexual Sixes can be depressive and erratic, 
especially if they feel that their reactivity has undermined or ruined 
their intimate connections. Impulsive, self-destructive behavior alter¬ 
nates with irrational lashing out. Paranoia may become part of the pic¬ 
ture, although usually with a distinctly focused and obsessive flavor 
since it is aimed at particular, personal enemies. 


Most Sixes will encounter the following issues at some point in 
their lives. Noticing these patterns, “catching ourselves in the act,” 
and simply seeing our underlying habitual responses to life will do 
much to release us from the negative aspects of our type. 


THE SIX’S 
CHALLENGES TO 
GROWTH 





Key Terms: 

Liberated Sixes let go of the belief that they must rely on someone or some¬ 
thing outside themselves for support: they discover their own inner guid¬ 

H 

Level 

Self-Reliant 

ance. They also paradoxically achieve their Basic Desire—to find security 


i 

Courageous 

and support, particularly in their own inner guidance. They then become 

fc 



truly secure with themselves, grounded, serene, and valiant. 

A 



Sixes focus on the environment to find support and to alert themselves to 

L 

Level 

Engaging 

dangers. They are friendly, trustworthy, and engaging, seeking to build 


2 

Reliable 

connection and stability in their world. Self-image: “I am solid, attentive, 

T 



and dependable.” 

H 



Sixes reinforce their self-image by responsibly working to create and sus¬ 

Y 

Level 

Committed 

tain mutually beneficial systems. They form alliances with others, bringing 


3 

Cooperative 

thrift, hard work, and an attention to details. They are well-disciplined and 
practical, often foreseeing potential problems before they arise. 


Level 

A 

Dutiful 

Sixes begin to fear that they will lose their independence but also believe they 

A 

need more support. They invest themselves in the people and organizations 

A 

4 

Loyal 

that they believe will help them, but are uneasy about it. They seek reassur¬ 

V 



ance and guidance in procedures, rules, authorities, and philosophies. 

E 

Level 

Ambivalent 

Sixes worry that they cannot meet the conflicting demands of their differ¬ 
ent commitments, so they try to resist having any more pressure put on 

R 

5 

Defensive 

them without alienating their supporters. They are anxious, pessimistic, 

A 



and suspicious, leading to greater caution, impulsiveness, and indecision. 

G 

Level 

Authoritarian 

Sixes fear that they are losing the support of their allies, and they are ex¬ 
tremely unsure of themselves, so they look for causes for their anxiety. They 

E 

6 

Blaming 

are embittered, cynical, and reactive, feeling that their good faith has been 
betrayed. They blame others and get into power struggles. 

u 



Sixes fear that their actions have harmed their own security, and this may 

N 

Level 

Panicky 

be true. Their reactive behavior may have caused crises in their lives, so they 

7 

Unreliable 

trust themselves even less. They feel panicky, depressed, and helpless and so 

H 



look for something to save them from their predicament. 

E 

Level 

Paranoid 

Sixes become so insecure and desperate that they begin to believe that oth¬ 
ers will destroy whatever safety they have left. They harbor paranoid fears 

A 

8 

Lashing Out 

and delusional ideas about the world. They rant about their obsessive fears 

L 



and may strike out at real or imagined enemies. 

T 



The realization that they have committed acts for which they will likely be 

H 

Level 

Self-Abasing 

punished is too much for unhealthy Sixes. Guilt and self-hatred lead them 

9 

Sclf-Dcstructi ve 

to punish themselves, inviting disgrace and bringing down all that they 

Y 



have achieved. Suicide attempts to elicit rescue are not uncommon. 





TYPE 


SIX: THE 


LOYALIST 


2 4 3 


THE WAKE-UP CALL FOR TYPE SIX: 

LOOKING FOR A SURE THING (GUIDANCE AND 
SUPPORT OUTSIDE THEMSELVES) 

Average Sixes are frequently worried about the future. Because they 
have serious doubts about themselves and the world, they start to look 
for a “sure thing” that will guarantee their security—anything from a 
marriage to a job to a belief system to a network of friends to a self-help 
book. Most Sixes have more than one sure thing—just in case. They are 
the type that believes in saving for a rainy day, and investing for the fu¬ 
ture, and being loyal to a company in order to ensure their pension. 

Simply put. Sixes are seeking assurance and insurance, trying to 
hedge their bets. They feel that life is fraught with dangers and uncer- “What can I believe in?” 
tainties so it must be approached with caution and limited expecta¬ 
tions. Sixes have personal wishes and dreams, of course, but they are 
afraid to take actions that might undermine their security. (“I’d love to 
be an actor, but you need something to fall back on.”) They become 
more concerned with establishing and maintaining their safety nets 
than with pursuing their true goals and aspirations. 

They increasingly turn to safe bets, reliable procedures, and tried- 
and-true methods for solving problems. Doing things the way they 
have been done before gives Sixes a feeling of weight and solidity. With 
other people or with tradition behind them, they feel they have the 
backup they need to move ahead. For instance, Sixes would generally 
be hesitant to work for a company that has no track record, or one that 
looks promising but risky. They prefer an employer that seems to have 
time-tested staying power. Ironically, however, when Sixes feel uncer¬ 
tain about their situation, they may act impulsively simply to bring 
closure to their anxieties. Sometimes this works—sometimes it under¬ 
mines their security. 


DARING TO FOLLOW YOUR HEART 


Sixes tend to err on the side of caution, thus missing many.possibilities for self-development and fulfill¬ 
ment. In your Inner Work Journal, record any examples of times in your life when you let significant oppor¬ 
tunities for growth and challenge pass you by. Why did you decide to let them go? Would belief in your own 
abilities have changed the outcome? 

Recall some times when you did fly against common sense and took a chance. We are not referring to 
impulsive acting out but rather to those times when you consciously chose to stretch yourself. What was 
the outcome? How did you feel at the time? Are there areas in your life now where you know that you are 
resisting your true desires out of fear or doubts about yourself? What can you do differently? 





2 4 4 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


The Social Role: The Stalwart 

Average Sixes want to reinforce their support system, to strengthen 
their alliances and/or their position with authorities. To that end, they 
”You can depend on me.” invest most of their time and energy in the commitments they have 

made, hoping that their sacrifices will pay off in increased security and 
mutual support. Similarly, as a defense against growing anxiety or un¬ 
certainty, Sixes become invested in particular beliefs, be they political, 
philosophical, or spiritual. 

Sixes tirelessly volunteer themselves to be “the responsible one.” 
They put in long hours working to ensure that the relationship or job 
or belief that they have invested in will continue to thrive and support 
them. This inevitably raises questions in their doubting minds: Are 
they being taken advantage of? Do others want them around only be¬ 
cause of their hard work and dependability? Would they still be wanted 
if they stopped working so hard? Thus, playing their Social Role iron¬ 
ically begins to create social insecurities. 

Sixes would like a guarantee that if they do all they are supposed to 
do, then God (or the company, or their family) will take care of them. 
They believe that if they and their allies manage their environment well 
enough, then all unpredictable and potentially dangerous events will be 
avoided or controlled. But countries rise and fall, and even the largest 
corporations go out of business or have cycles of growth and recession. 
There is nothing that Sixes can do in the external world that will make 
them feel secure if they are insecure within themselves. 


WHAT SUPPORTS YOU? 


Examine the “social security” systems you have created in your own .life. Have they really made you more 
secure? What have they cost you? What would you do without one of them? Beyond these investments of 
your time and energy, consider all the different ways that your life is supported every day. (Hint: Did you 
grow, process, and package the food you had today?)' 


Fear, Anxiety, and Doubt 

While not one of the classic seven “Capital Sins, has been as¬ 
signed as the “Passion” (or underlying emotional distortion) of the Six, 
since the root of so much of Type Six’s behavior is based on insecurity 
and reactions to fear. Sixes’ fear can be seen in worry about their secu¬ 
rity and about potential future problems, but also in chronic self-doubt 
and anxieties about others. Although Sixes can appear on the surface to 







TYPE 


SIX: THE 


LOYALIST 


2 4 5 


be extremely friendly and people-oriented, they often harbor deep fears 
that others will abandon them, reject them, or harm them. They fear 
that they will make some mistake that will ruin their relationships 
and that others will unexpectedly turn against them. Thus, much of 
their friendliness comes from a desire to “check in” with others to make 
sure that everything is still okay. 

Unlike other types who repress (or at least distract themselves 
from) their fears and anxieties, Sixes seem to be constantly conscious of 
them. Sometimes they are energized by their fears, but more often than 
not, they are confused, enervated, and unnerved by them. However, 
they may not outwardly seem to be all that nervous since much of their 
anxiety is internal. 

Looking at Laura, a poised and successful lawyer, you would not 
guess at the terrors going through her mind. 


I worry about all manner of things—like the roof leaking, or my car 
tires suddenly going flat—most of which would rarely happen and 
many of which are completely impossible. Fear is something I live 
with daily, minute by minute, hour by hour. The fear shows itself as 
nervousness, anxiety, and worry, though seldom as plain fear or ter¬ 
ror. I'd say that excitement, anxiety, and anticipation are all rolled up 
into one. I think generally that I am a positive person—but dread and 
pessimism rear their ugly heads and can really send me into a tailspin. 

Sixes learn to cope with fear either by reacting with it or against it. 
Some Sixes express themselves more aggressively, while others are more 
visibly timid. This is not to say that there are two kinds of Sixes; rather, 
we see that some Sixes express themselves counterphobically more 
often than others and that much of this probably comes from superego 
messages learned in childhood. Some Sixes were instructed to be tough 
and found that they could protect themselves by being relatively ag¬ 
gressive. Other Sixes were taught to avoid trouble and turn the other 
cheek. 

Of course, in most Sixes these two tendencies coexist, alternately 
taking the upper hand, as Connie knows very well. 

I feel like a frightened rabbit that doesn’t know which way to go. I 
need to find the courage to move. On the other hand, when there is 
a crisis, I function very well. No fear there.When my loved ones are 
attacked, watch out! I just put myself on automatic, and off I go to de¬ 
fend and rescue anyone who needs me. But taking the lead or taking 
responsibility for other people where I have to think and stay in my 
head just brings up panic. 


“/ get anxious and then 
look for reasons why I’m 
anxious. ” 



2 4 6 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


EXPLORING ANXIETY 


In your Inner Work Journal, can you list ten or more instances or areas where fear, anxiety, or doubt ha¬ 
bitually show up? 

Can you identify particular times, people, places, or other triggers that get you revved up with anxiety 
and tension? While there is clearly a negative component to these states, can you also discern a positive 
payoff that you might also unwittingly be seeking—such as gaining sympathy from others, or their protec¬ 
tion? How do you complain or otherwise show your displeasure? What would it be like to not behave 
this way? What do you think would be gained? What would be lost? 


Seeking Support for bidependence 

Although Sixes want to feel supported by others, they do not want to 
feel engulfed by anyone, and it feels uncomfortable when someone starts 
“One hand washes the t0 overw helm them with too much attention or closeness. They want 
other. ” distance from others, while still knowing that others are there for them. 

Paradoxically, they run the risk of becoming dependent on someone to 
become independent. They may be like a girl who, desperate to leave an 
oppressive home, marries a controlling and possessive man. Anxiety 
often makes them jump too fast into an apparent solution, like the en¬ 
trepreneur who quits his job to start his own business, only to feel even 
more oppressed by demanding investors or government regulations 
with which he must contend. 

The irony is that the more insecure and lacking confidence they 
are, the more Sixes rely on external support, and the more they lose 
their independence. If their self-confidence is severely damaged, their 
dependency on a person or a belief system can become so deep and ex¬ 
tensive that they cannot imagine living without it. In other cases, they 
can develop a “siege mentality,” feeling that others are out to harm or 
exploit them. These suspicions can lead to social isolation. 


UNDOING “AMNESIA OF SUCCESS” 


You are much more capable than you realize. Everyone needs assistance and support from time to time, 
but you sometimes undervalue your contribution to the support of others.Take a moment to list the ways 
that you have supported significant people in your life. Then make a list of ways that you have supported 
yourself. In this second list, make sure to include important accomplishments that made you feel good about 
yourself. Study these lists. Which is longer? How do you feel about each of these lists? 











TYPE 


SIX: THE 


LOYALIST 


2 4 7 


Looking for Answers 


Because they do not feel they can trust their own inner guidance, 
Sixes often look for answers in ideas and insights first propounded by 
others. Sixes do not just jump on the bandwagon, however; they will 
subject these ideas to scrutiny and testing and eventually may replace 
them with yet other ideas. More insecure Sixes will tend to simply ac¬ 
cept the ideas of others, but even in this case, they can also resist and 
question them aggressively. Either way, their natural response is first to 
look outside of themselves for something to believe, and if that fails, to 
react against it and look for something else. Doubt, questioning, believ¬ 
ing, searching, skepticism, and resistance are always part of the picture. 

In general, Sixes tend to be mistrustful of authority until they are 
reassured that the authority is benevolent and “knows what he’s talking 
about.” Once Sixes feel' that they have found a “good” authority, how¬ 
ever, they strongly identify with it and internalize its values and teach¬ 
ings. (If the boss likes them, it makes them feel great. If they discover 
a new mentor who seems wise and helpful, they are elated. If they find 
a political system or leader who seems trustworthy, they can get in¬ 
volved in a very big way.) But Sixes are never entirely convinced: they 
harbor nagging doubts, while often expressing their adopted views all 
the more forcefully to suppress their doubts. 

Sixes often attempt to solve the problem of finding the “right” an¬ 
swers by aligning themselves with multiple authorities and systems. 
They may believe in a religious affiliation, have strong political convic¬ 
tions, listen to the opinions of their spouses, take lessons from their 
fitness trainer, and read self-help books for further advice. If these dif¬ 
ferent messages and teachings conflict, Sixes are right back where they 
started—uncomfortably trying to make up their own minds. 

Thus, Sixes are cautious and skeptical about taking on new beliefs 
or relationships. This is because Sixes are aware of the intensity of their 
commitment, once made, and want to avoid making a mistake. Should 
Sixes have any reason to suspect their authority of being unjust or un¬ 
wise, their feelings of doubt can blossom quickly into rebellion or re¬ 
jection. Of course, no belief system or relationship will always provide 
perfect guidance and support. Until Sixes become aware of this pattern, 
they will play out their dance of trust and doubt over and over again. 


“There is nothing easy about 
becoming conscious. My own life 
was much easier before I knew 
about the deeper meaning of 
choice, the power of choice that 
accompanies taking responsibility. 
Abdicating responsibility to an 
outside source can seem, at least 
for the moment, so much easier. 
Once you know better, however, 
you can’t get away with kidding 
yourself for long.” 

Caroline Myss 


QUESTIONING THE ROOTS OF YOUR BELIEFS 

What are the foundations of your belief-system? Are these based on your own experiences or on the au¬ 
thority of trusted friends, mentors, books, or teachings? How do you evaluate the truth or falseness of a belief? 





2 4 8 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Seeking Structure and Guidelines 

Sixes dislike having too many options. They feel more confident in 
situations with well-defined procedures, guidelines, and rules, such as 
the legal profession, or accounting, or academia. When the demands 
on them are clear, however, they can be highly effective at creating 
structure and organization—often serving as the head of a group or 
corporation that governs by consensus. Not all Sixes are comfortable in 
organizations, however, given their suspicion of authority. 

Many Sixes find a great deal of flexibility and creativity within the 
security of known boundaries. For them, it is no more restrictive to play 
within the rules of an organization than it is to play tennis with the net 
up or to read a book starting at the beginning. As far as they are con¬ 
cerned, things have a natural order, and they are usually content to work 
within it—as long as they also retain some choice about whether to ig¬ 
nore it. (They may never exercise this choice, but they still want to 
know that it is there.) Even artists, writers, therapists, and other creative 
individuals who are Sixes like working with established forms (the 
Blues, Country, sonatas, haiku) and find freedom within these struc¬ 
tures. 

Sixes feel safer when they have some sense of what to expect, so 
they typically dislike sudden changes. Having a certain amount of de¬ 
pendable predictability is comforting to their anxious minds. 
Annabelle, a therapist, notes: 

I am a creature of habit and routine.You see, each time I deliberately 
create a habit, I have one less thing to think about. Otherwise, I would 
use that much more energy thinking. I hate change. I have a knee-jerk 
negative reaction to change. Change means that the future will be dif- 
ferent.The good news is that I’ll adjust as soon as the future gets pre¬ 
dictable again or as soon as I get one of my systems or explanations 
into place. For example, I always go to the same gas station. If I were 
not already in the habit of going to the same place, I would go around 
and around in my head about when and where to stop. 


TRUSTING YOUR OWN INNER KNOWING 


Watch for times in which you or someone else has a question about what to do in a situation. For ex¬ 
ample, there might be a question about how to approach a problem at work, or a friend might come to you 
for advice about a marriage. Notice how you approach the problem. Do you rely on precedents? (“The com¬ 
pany policy on that is ...” or “The spiritual teaching that I’ve learned says...”) Or do you turn to your own 
intelligence—especially the intelligence of your heart and instincts? 






TYPE 


SIX: THE 


LOYALIST 


2 4 9 


Overcommitment and. “Covering All the Bases” 

Sixes try to fulfill their commitments to many different people and 
situations, but inevitably they find it impossible to satisfy everyone. 

Then they become like the Little Dutch Boy who has to put his fingers 
in all the holes to keep the dike from leaking. They become overex¬ 
tended and often feel taken advantage of. 

For example, a Six at the office might hear from his spouse that she 
has made dinner reservations at a fine restaurant—“just for us”—on 
Friday night. The Six, wanting to reinforce the security he derives from 
his marriage, agrees and looks forward to a pleasant evening. At about 
this point, his boss comes in and, knowing the Six to be a reliable and 

persevering worker, asks if he can stay late on Friday night to meet a “Damned if I do, and 

Monday morning deadline. Not wanting to disappoint—or get in damned if I don’t.” 

trouble with the boss—the Six agrees to stay later, while beginning to 

fearfully figure out what to tell his wife. Later that afternoon, his best 

friend calls to remind him of their date—made the previous week—for 

a card game on Friday night. The Six is now in a quandary. Because he 

has overcommitted himself—trying to cover all the bases—he cannot 

help but disappoint someone. 

The Six will be racked with fear that others will get angry with him, 
although he may not actually check to see if this is the case. No matter, 
the Six’s anxious mind will fill in the gaps with fearful projections and 
imagined complaints and tirades. He feels pressured—“damned if you 
do, and damned if you don’t.” He becomes irritated that others expect 
too much from him; he cannot possibly do everything they want! 


BEING THERE FOR EVERYONE 


Look for areas in your life where you have tended to overcommit yourself. What was your motivation 
for doing so? What prevented you from saying no when you were overbooked? What was the result of your 
overcommitment for you? For others? 


The Inner Committee 

While Ones have a powerful inner critic in their heads, Sixes have 
an inner committee. Sixes often check in with them, imagining what 
their response would be to a given situation. (“Gee, I don’t know if I 
should take this job. What would Julie say? She’d definitely be for it, 
but Dad would really disapprove. On the other hand, that self-help 
book said . . .”) Thus, when they have to make a decision, Sixes will feel 
caught between various internal voices arguing for different positions 







2 5 0 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


and responsibilities. Sometimes the loudest internal voice will win out; 
at other times, there is a deadlock and procrastination. Sixes may find 
themselves unable to come to any closure or final decision because they 
cannot stop second-guessing themselves. 

As a result, Sixes often feel indecisive. Although they may feel 
strongly about things, they are not certain that they know the best 
course of action to take. Every choice brings the deliberations of the 
inner committee, which can lead Sixes around and around in circles. 
On the other hand, in highly significant matters (such as where to live 
or which religion to believe in), Sixes usually have strong opinions and 
can be rather inflexible because they have settled their doubts sometime 
in the past and have come to a conclusion to which they then doggedly 
adhere. By contrast, it is in the smaller choices in life where they tend 
to bounce back and forth, constantly second-guessing themselves. (“Do 
I get the hamburger or the hot dog?”) Their unending inner conversa¬ 
tion clutters the quiet of the mind and blocks the inner guidance of 
Essence. They need to fire their inner committee. 


FIRING THE INNER COMMITTEE 


Are you aware of your inner committee? Who sits on it? In the past, when you’ve tried to imagine the 
responses of your allies and authorities, have their real responses been the way you imagined them? 


Vigilance, Suspicion, and Catastrophizing 

Because of their feelings of being unsupported, Sixes develop an ex¬ 
traordinary sensitivity to danger signals. This is even truer if they grew 
up in an environment that was unsafe or unstable, or if they were trau¬ 
matized in some way. While this kind of awareness can be an asset and 
can even save a person’s life, many Sixes remain hyperalert and hyper- 
vigilant even when no danger is present. They can never relax, never 
feel safe. Their eyes dart about nervously, scanning their surroundings 
for potential threats or problems. (Many Sixes have reported being 
aware of where the exits are in any room they are occupying and what 
stands between them and the exit.) This relationship with the world is 
extremely stressful and over time can even change their brain chemistry. 
Further, it begins to shape their imaginations, resulting in a constant ex¬ 
pectation of mishap or danger. 

Joseph knows this state very well. 

Being a Six is akin to feeling that the sky is always about to fall in. My 

view of the world is colored by a constant sense that something is 






TYPE 


SIX: 


THE 


LOYALIST 


2 5 I 


about to go wrong. From the moment that I wake up in the morning, I 
find myself scanning the environment—internally and externally—for 

trouble_Life seems like an accident waiting to happen. Even in the 

best of moments, the only question is when the other shoe will drop. 

Average Sixes can also become very pessimistic and sour. They may 
have extremely low self-esteem and “amnesia” about their past successes 
and accomplishments. It is as if nothing in their past can convince 
them that they will be able to deal effectively with the problems at 
hand—and they see problems in every direction. 

Annabelle vividly describes the tension that this creates. 

When I’m a passenger in a car, I look ahead to see what the other 
cars ahead of us are doing. I see the possibility of something bad hap¬ 
pening, and I imagine a scene of disaster. Heart pounds, pulse races, 
breath becomes shallow, imagination races out of control—no es¬ 
cape! Nothing happens. I move on to the next possibility. Creating a 
disaster in my mind is automatic. I can do this for hours, then I ob¬ 
serve that I’m doing it and make myself stop, but pretty soon I'm lost 
in it again. 

Sixes feel that any small mishap could be their undoing. They make 
mountains out of molehills and can be relied on to come up with all of 
the reasons why a project or endeavor will not work. Naturally, this can 
affect their attitudes at work, but it also affects their personal relation¬ 
ships. Slight misunderstandings or differences of opinion can indicate 
to the Six that she is facing imminent abandonment, or that her friends 
and supporters have turned against her. Left unchecked, this tendency 
can undermine significant relationships, or trigger paranoid responses 
to what they perceive as injustices directed at themselves. 


“What are they up to?” 


OVERCOMING PESSIMISM 


Learn to discern real dangers from potential ones. How often do you expect bad outcomes? Do you have 
trouble believing that things will work out? Do you choose to think about problems or is it a reflex? While an¬ 
ticipating future problems may have some usefulness, it more generally leads you away from dealing with the re¬ 
ality of here and now—the one place you can find the steadiness and guidance to move into the next moment. 


Blaming and Victimization 

To the degree that they feel powerless to do anything constructive 
themselves, Sixes may act out their anxieties by complaining and blam¬ 
ing others. This is all the more true if they fear that they will be 





2 5 2 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


“I’m mad as hell and I’m 
not going to take it 
anymore!” 


reprimanded or punished in some way by an authority figure for their 
failures. 

Blaming may well begin with the common childhood scenario in 
which a parent comes home to find a broken knickknack and asks, 
“Who did this?” To which the guilty Six child responds, “Debbie did 
it! And you know what else? Debbie made a mess upstairs and said a 
bad word to me!” 

In the adult world, Sixes more commonly discharge their anxieties 
by complaining to third parties about the people with whom they are 
frustrated. For many Sixes, the dinner table at home is the favorite 
place to vent about disappointments at work or to let off steam about 
someone’s incompetence. Similar activities occur around coffee ma¬ 
chines at the office or at bars after hours. Simply put, Sixes feel put- 
upon and victimized and frequently fall into the habit of complaining 
without taking any definite action that would change the situation. Over 
time, this begins to heighten their self-image of being victims, often 
leading to paranoia and the destructive modes of “problem-solving” we 
find in the unhealthy range. 


WHY IS EVERYBODY MESSING UP MY LIFE? 


How many of your conversations involve complaining? About your job, relationships, children, parents, 
sports team, politics, town, or even the weather? When you are complaining about a person, have you dis¬ 
cussed this matter fully with that person? Who or what are you blaming for the problems in your life? 


REACTING TO 
STRESS: 
SIX GOES TO 
THREE 


As we have seen, Sixes tirelessly invest their time and energy in their 
“security systems.” When stress increases beyond their normal ability to 
cope, Sixes may go to Three and become even more driven and poten¬ 
tially workaholic. They also make additional efforts to fit in, adapting 
themselves to their surroundings and striving to be exemplary enough 
to maintain their social and financial position. Thus, Sixes at Three be¬ 
come more image-conscious, developing the right look, gestures, jar¬ 
gon, and attitude to be acceptable to their peers. They hope in this way 
to win people over and avoid rejection. However, others often notice 
the forced quality of their friendliness or professionalism, leading them 
to wonder what Sixes are really up to. 

Like Threes, Sixes can become competitive, although usually through 
identification with groups or beliefs (a favorite football team, their com¬ 
pany, school, nationality, or religion). They may also become boastful and 
self-promoting, adopting condescending attitudes, dismissing others, and 
hyping their own superiority in a desperate attempt to defend against 





TYPE 


SIX: THE 


LOYALIST 


2 5 3 


their low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority. Dishonesty about their 
background or education, exploitation of self or others, and a relentless 
desire to triumph over rival groups or ideologies can enter the picture. 


If Sixes are overstressed for an extended period of time, if they have 
suffered a serious crisis without adequate support or coping skills, or if 
they have suffered from chronic abuse in childhood, they may cross the 
shock point into the unhealthy range of their type. This may lead them 
to a fearful recognition that their own belligerent actions or defensive 
reactions are actually harming their security. 

If Sixes can recognize the truth in these fears, they may begin to 
turn their life around and move toward health and liberation. On the 
other hand, they may become even more panicky and reactive: “I’ll do 
anything for you! Don’t leave me!” or, at the other extreme,“They’ll be 
sorry they messed with me!” If Sixes persist in these attitudes, they may 
cross into the unhealthy range. 

If you or someone you know is exhibiting the following warning 
signs for an extended period of time-—more than two or three weeks— 
getting counseling, therapy, or other support is highly advisable. 


THE RED FLAG: 
THE SIX IN 
TROUBLE 

▲ 


WARNING SIGNS 

POTENTIAL PATHOLOGY: 
Paranoid, Dependent, and 
Borderline Personality Dis¬ 
orders, Dissociative Disorders, 
and passive-aggressive behav¬ 
iors, intense anxiety attacks. 


► Intense anxiety and panic attacks 

► Acute inferiority feelings and chronic depression 

► Constant fear of losing support from others 

► Alternating dependency and impulsive displays of defiance 

► Keeping “bad company” and attachments to abusive relationships 

► Extreme suspiciousness and paranoia 

► Hysterical lashing-out at perceived enemies 


► Notice how much time you spend trying to figure out how to 
handle possible future problems. In reality, how often do these imag¬ 
ined events come to pass? Also notice how this mental activity actually 
makes you less effective at dealing with the challenges at hand. If you 
are worrying and obsessing about a meeting you will have tomorrow or 
next week, you are far more likely to forget an important phone call— 
or even overlook a real danger signal. Quieting the mind through dis¬ 
ciplined meditation practices, especially those that focus on the body, 


PRACTICES THAT 
HELP SIXES 
DEVELOP 





254 THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

can help Sixes clear out the chorus of voices in their heads. Remember, 
inner knowing usually does not speak using words. 

► You tend to have difficulty enjoying those moments when you 
achieve your objectives without immediately launching into your next 
round of anxieties—even worrying about how others might resent your 
accomplishment! When you achieve a goal, large or small, stop long 
enough to relax, breathe, and savor the moment. Take in the impres¬ 
sion of your competence. Remember this impression. This feeling will 
help you see the ways in which you consistently support yourself and 
others. This memory will come to your aid when you doubt your abil¬ 
ity to cope at other times. 

► Get in the practice of noticing what you trust and how you 
come to decisions. Notice especially the procedures or allies you auto¬ 
matically turn to when you are unsure of yourself. Why do you feel that 
others will know better what to do than you do? Also notice your anger 
and rejection of them when it is clear that they do not have the answers 
you seek. You can avoid these situations by turning more to what your 
heart and instincts are telling you in the moment. Many internal voices 
may clamor, but understand what they are—fearful aspects of your 
imagination and your superego, and no more. The more you are able 
to see the truth of this, the more you will find your quiet mind and 
come to the right path for yourself. 

► While you want to be there in a responsible way for everyone 
else in your life, you tend to shortchange yourself by not believing that 
your own self-development is worth the trouble. This can be exacer¬ 
bated by fears of change—of moving into the unknown. Take risks, es¬ 
pecially when it comes to moving out of familiar, safe patterns. Having 
a therapist that you trust or a spiritual group that you work with can 
be invaluable for creating the kind of support you need to explore dif¬ 
ficult issues. But remember, it is your own courage and strength that 
ultimately are required (and available) for such explorations. 

► Seek out diversity and variety. Sure, you like cheeseburgers, but 
maybe you could try the chicken sandwich. You love basketball, but 
perhaps you could also find another sport or activity interesting. The 
same is true with your choice of acquaintances. By sometimes interact¬ 
ing with people from very different backgrounds and perspectives, you 
will learn more about yourself and the world. All of this, far from being 
threatening or dangerous, will greatly expand your base of support and 
increase your comfort in the world. 

► Learn to cultivate quiet time for yourself. By this, we do not 
mean sitting around in front of a TV for hours, but time in which you 



TYPE 


SIX: 


THE 


LOYALIST 


2 5 5 


get to be with yourself in a simple way. You benefit greatly from con¬ 
tact with nature. Take walks, garden, swim, meditate—and above all, 
do not use these times to worry, fret, and srrategize about your work 
and relationships. They are times for you to become more comfortable 
with Being. Getting in greater contact with your surroundings and 
with the sensations in your body will do much to soothe and quiet that 
busy mind of yours. 


Healthy Sixes are endowed with tremendous endurance and 
achieve their objectives through steady and persistent efforts. Less 
flashy than some of the other types, they believe in the adage “Success 
is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.” They give care¬ 
ful attention to details and tend to approach problems carefully and 
methodically. They organize resources, prioritize tasks, and see projects 
through, feeling that their personal value rests on their reliability and 
on the quality of the work they produce. High-functioning Sixes re¬ 
spect dependability and good craftsmanship and, to the best of their 
ability, provide them. 

Because of their underlying vigilance and sensitivity to danger sig¬ 
nals, Sixes also foresee problems and can “head them off at the pass.” 
They are natural troubleshooters and often save themselves, their fam¬ 
ilies, or their companies many headaches by spotting irregularities or 
potential problems. They like to stay on top of things so that their 
world runs as trouble-free as possible. Keeping insurance and paying 
bills early are typical Six behaviors. 

Sixes like to learn and to think about things, but within known and 
knowable categories. They are attracted to-self-contained systems, such 
as law, accounting, engineering, languages, and the sciences, where one 
can arrive at a definite answer. Thus, they tend to be excellent in work 
that involves careful analysis and an ability to keep track of variables. 
Their diligence can alert them to discrepancies in systems, to potential 
problems, or to inaccuracies or contradictions in the statements of oth¬ 
ers. The world of academia, for example, supports many Six values: ob¬ 
serving good structure and form, referring back to authorities through 
citations and footnotes, careful analysis and systematic thinking. 

Sixes are outstanding in their ability to work for a common good 
without needing to be stars. Sixes ask what needs to be done and then 
do it, with a sense of being part of something that transcends their per¬ 
sonal interests. They teach us all about the benefits and joys of com¬ 
mitment, cooperation, and service. Healthy Sixes are great believers in 
the age-old observation that people acting with a common purpose can 
accomplish more than anyone acting alone, particularly in situations 
where people need to band together to survive—to produce food or 


BUILDING ON 
THE SIX’S 
STRENGTHS 



2 S 6 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


clothing, to build a house, to improve communities or working condi¬ 
tions, or to defend a city or a country. 

While high-functioning Sixes are deeply loyal and committed to 
others, they are also committed to learning more about themselves. In 
the process, they often find rich and unsuspected talent for creativity 
and self-expression. Committing to their own development helps Sixes 
build strong self-esteem and see themselves as the equal of others— 
equally competent, equally worthy of respect and rewards, equally able 
to take responsibility and to hold their own in all areas of life. 

Connie’s path of growth has involved finding her own center 
within herself. 

Probably the aspect about my personality that has changed the most 
is my ability to stand on my own. I now know within myself that I am 
okay, that things will be all right. At my best, I am strong and can care 
not only for myself but for those around me. Instead of having fifteen 
authority figures, I have one or two trusted friends—and I listen to 
my own counsel.There are actually things that I don’t share with any¬ 
one. Previously my life was an open book. Now I give myself and oth¬ 
ers needed respect. 

High-functioning Sixes are self-confident and self-affirming be¬ 
cause they have learned to recognize and trust their own inner guid¬ 
ance. Their faith in themselves often manifests as outstanding courage 
and leadership. They lead from a deep understanding of people’s inse¬ 
curities and frailties, and others respond to them, seeing their sincerity 
and willingness to be honest about their own weaknesses. They nurture 
an egalitarian spirit, a sense that there really are no leaders and follow¬ 
ers, just different people with different talents finding ways to combine 
them for a common good. This desire to engage, to find common 
ground, and to work for everyone’s mutual safety and benefit is a gift 
that our species needs for survival. 


“Can we be friendsi” 



TYPE 


SIX: THE 


LOYALIST 


2 5 7 


Sixes become actualized and remain healthy by becoming balanced 
in their instincts and grounded in their bodies like healthy Nines. For 
Sixes to find the stability they seek, they need to turn to the steady sup¬ 
port of their physical presence: to get grounded in the here-and-now. 
Many Sixes are active, even athletic, but this is not the same thing as 
being in contact with the moment-to-moment sensations of the body. 
Attending to the immediacy of their sensory impressions acts as a coun¬ 
terbalance to the Six’s nonstop thinking and gives them something else 
to identify with. 

At first, centering themselves in their physical sensations may pro¬ 
duce feelings of panic or dread, particularly if Sixes have suffered 
trauma in their past. It is not uncommon for Sixes from abusive back¬ 
grounds to begin to tremble as they occupy their bodies more com¬ 
pletely. At such times, it is important for Sixes to realize that such 
physical reactions are the body’s way of processing old fears and hurts 
and are not necessarily indications of present danger. If Sixes are able to 
sense themselves and their anxious feelings without reacting to them, 
they begin to come into a more open and trusting experience of life. 

Sixes cannot find this steadiness by imitating the traits of average 
Nines, however. Becoming complacent, attempting to efface them¬ 
selves, or getting involved in comforting ruts merely reinforces the Six’s 
fearful clinging to people and activities for security. Trying to be easy¬ 
going or passive will not negate a Six’s anxieties and may even increase 
the churning of her mind. But as Sixes become more practiced at stay¬ 
ing with themselves without reacting to their anxieties, they begin to 
feel supported, not just by their significant others or by their work but 
by Being itself. They sense life’s benevolence and know that the ground 
will hold. This is not based on belief or on any trick of the mind but 
on a quiet and steady inner knowing that requires no explanation or ex¬ 
ternal backup. 

From this position of grounded openness, Sixes are able to recog¬ 
nize the common bonds they share with all of humanity. They feel in¬ 
clusive and accepting of others, regardless of whether their views or 
lifestyles are familiar to them. They are filled with courage that is not a 
counterphobic reaction to fear but is an actual force in and of itself. 
Their courage arises from a feeling of real inner solidity and of pro¬ 
found connection with themselves and with all living things. Thus, in¬ 
tegrating Sixes, like healthy Nines, can approach tremendous 
challenges and even tragedies or threats with inner balance and equa¬ 
nimity. 


THE PATH OF 
INTEGRATION: 
SIX GOES TO 
NINE 

A 



2 5 8 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


TRANSFORMING 
PERSONALITY 
INTO ESSENCE 


"When eating a fruit, think of 
the person who planted the tree." 

Vietnamese saying 


“You cannot depend on any¬ 
body. There is no guide, teacher, 
no authority. There is only you— 
your relationship with others and 
with the world—there is nothing 
else." 

Krishnamurti 


All human beings need support and security in order to survive, let 
alone thrive, but seldom do we realize how extensively we are supported. 
Besides the support of our friends and loved ones, we have been sup¬ 
ported by the people who grew the food that we will eat for dinner 
tonight, by the unknown factory workers who manufactured our 
clothes, by the people working in the utility company who provide us 
with heat and electricity, and on and on. No one who reads this book 
has ever truly been without support, but our personality, based as it is on 
defenses against fears and feelings of deficiency, cannot recognize this. 
The ability to recognize and respond intelligently to the support of the 
world, as well as the inner support and guidance of Being, can be 
achieved only through Presence—-through abiding in our true nature. 

The “wrong turn” that Sixes take is to use their fearful and doubting 
ego minds to figure out where reliable guidance and support can be 
found. Ironically, the more they question and strategize, the less secure 
they feel. Rather than give them the security they seek, being identified 
with their anxious thoughts makes Sixes feel small, helpless, and without 
direction. Only by seeing through their fearful thinking patterns can Sixes 
begin to reconnect with their Essential nature. When they do so, they re¬ 
discover their own inner authority, and they begin to recognize that the 
support they have been seeking is everywhere and always available. 

Jenny, a therapist in her fifties who had recently undergone a mas¬ 
tectomy, beautifully expresses this transformation. 

I believe I became my own authority with my mastectomy experi¬ 
ence. I was able to take in love from my family and friends. It never 
felt safe before. What a beautiful gift! I had to be my own authority 
because my survival was at stake and no one really knows what is 
best for me except me! I feel wonderful when I allow myself to feel 
healthy! Recently I have been focusing my attention on growing flow¬ 
ers as opposed to pulling weeds all the time. My “inner voices”—my 
old superego stuff—just keep me in the weeds. 

Sixes achieve transformation by confronting their Basic Fear of 
being without support and guidance. As they do so, they begin to ex¬ 
perience a vast, empty inner space, and they may sometimes feel as 
though they are falling into it. If they can tolerate this sensation, this 
space may change and feel solid or become intensely shiny and lumi¬ 
nous—or it could transform itself in numerous ways. Sixes then come 
to recognize that the inner space they experience is actually the very 
support they have been looking for. It is free, open, and infinitely wise 
and patient. When this spaciousness is present, Sixes fed self-reliant, 
courageous, and brilliantly intelligent—in short, all of the qualities 
they have been looking for. 



TYPE SIX: THE LOYALIST 

THE EMERGENCE OF ESSENCE 

Deep down, Sixes remember that the universe is benevolent and 
supports them completely. They know that they are grounded in Being, 
are part of the Divine Nature, and that grace is always available to them. 

When their minds become quiet, Sixes experience an inner spa¬ 
ciousness that is the Ground of Being. They realize that Essence is real 
and is not simply an idea; in fact, it is the thing that is most real in exis¬ 
tence, the very foundation of existence itself. People have associated this 
inner peace with the presence of God, which is manifesting itself at 
every moment, and which is available at every moment. When Sixes ex¬ 
perience this truth, they feel solid, steady, and supported, as if they were 
standing on a massive bed of granite. They realize that this ground is the 
only real security in life, and it is what gives Sixes immense courage. 

This is the real meaning of faith, their particular Essential quality. 
Faith is not belief, but a real, immediate knowing that comes from ex¬ 
perience. Faith without experience is belief. Faith with experience 
brings reliable guidance. Much of the personality of Sixes can be seen 
as an effort to imitate or recreate faith in terms of beliefs, and to find a 
substitute for the certainty that they are already secure as an expression 
of the Divine. When Essence emerges, however, Sixes have a certainty 
that they are grounded in Being in a' way that is immutable and ab¬ 
solute. Being supports them because they are part of it: their own exis¬ 
tence has Being because it cannot not have Being. 


2 5 9 


Add your scores for 
the fifteen statements 
for Type Six. Your re¬ 
sult-will be between 
15 and 75. The 
following guidelines 
may help you dis¬ 
cover or confirm your 
personality type. 


► 15 You are probably not a compliant type 

(not a One, Two, or Six). 

► 15-30 You are probably not a Type Six. 

► 30—45 You most probably have Six-issues or a 

Six parent. 

► 45-60 You most likely have a Six-compo- 


► 60—75 You are most likely a Six (but could 
still be another type if you are think¬ 
ing too narrowly about Type Six). 


Sixes are most 
likely to 
misidentify 
themselves 
as Fours, Eights, 
or Ones. Twos, 
Fives, and Ones 
are most likely 
to misidentify 
themselves as 
Sixes. 







CHAPTER 13 



THE GENERALIST 


THE MULTI-TASKER 


THE WUNDERKIND 


TYPE SEVEN: 

THE 

ENTHUSIAST 


“Pleasure is the object, the duty, and the goal of all rational creatures. " 

—Voltaire 


THE DILETTANTE 


THE CONNOISSEUR 


“No pleasure is evil in itself, but the means by which certain pleasures are 
gained bring pains many times greater than the pleasures. ” 

—Epicurus 


“With the catching ends the pleasure of the chase. ” 

—Abraham Lincoln 


THE ENERGIZER 


“How could there be any question ofacquiring or possessing, when the one 
thing needfulfor a man is to become —to be at last, and to die in thefiill- 
ness of his being. ” 


—Saint-Exup£ry 



THE 

RISO-HUDSON 

TAS 


Type 

Attitude 

Sorter 


Score each of the follow¬ 
ing statements according 
to how true or applicable 
to you it is on the follow¬ 
ing scale: 

1 . Not at All True 

2 . Seldom True 

3 . Somewhat True 

4 . Generally True 

5 . Very True 


_ 1. I love traveling and discovering different kinds of foods, 
people, and experiences—the whole fabulous whirlwind of 
life! 

_ 2. My calendar is usually full, and I like to keep it that way: no 
grass is going to grow under my feet! 

. 3. What’s important to me is excitement and variety rather 
than comfort and playing it safe—although I’ll take my 
comforts wherever I can find them. 

4. My mind is always chattering—sometimes it seems like I’m 
thinking about ten things at once! 

5. One thing I absolutely cannot stand is being bored—and I 
make sure that I am never boring myself. 

6. I’m pretty committed when I’m in a relationship, but when 
it’s over, I move on. 

_ 7. Iam curious and adventurous and am usually the first one 
of my friends to try whatever is new and interesting. 

8. When I no longer enjoy doing something, I stop doing it. 

9. I’m not just a “fun person”—there is a serious, even dark 
side to me, although I do not like to go there very much. 

.10. I’m good at the big picture, not so much the little details: 
it’s more enjoyable for me to brainstorm a lot of new ideas 
than to get involved with implementing them. 

.11. When I really want something, I usually find a way to get it. 

.12. Things get me down once in a while, but I quickly pop 
back up again. 


13. One of my main problems is that I am easily distracted and 
can get too scattered. 

14. I tend to spend more money than I probably should. 

15. Other people are great to have along—as long as they want 
to go where I’m going. 


See page 286for 
scoring key. 








2 6 2 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


PERSONALITY TYPE SEVEN: THE ENTHUSIAST 


► BASIC FEAR: Of being 
deprived and trapped in 
pain 

► BASIC DESIRE: To be 
happy, satisfied, to find 
fulfillment 

► SUPEREGO MESSAGE: 
“You are good or okay if 
you get what you need.” 


The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: 

Spontaneous, Versatile, Acquisitive, and Scattered 

We have named this personality type the Enthusiast because Sevens 
are enthusiastic about almost everything that catches their attention. 
They approach life with curiosity, optimism, and a sense of adventure, 
like kids in a candy store who look at the world in wide-eyed, rapt an¬ 
ticipation of all the good things they are about to experience. They are 
bold and vivacious, pursuing what they want in life with a cheerful de¬ 
termination. They have a quality best described by the Yiddish word 
chutzpah —a kind of brash nerviness. 

Although Sevens are in the Thinking Triad, this is not immediately 
apparent because they tend to be extremely practical and engaged in a 
multitude of projects at any given time. Their thinking is anticipatory: 
they foresee events and generate ideas on the fly, favoring activities that 
stimulate their minds—which in turn generate more things to do and 
think about. Sevens are not necessarily intellectual or studious by any 
standard definition, although they are often intelligent and can be widely 
read and highly verbal. Their minds move rapidly from one idea to the 
next, making them gifted at brainstorming and synthesizing informa¬ 
tion. Sevens are exhilarated by the rush of ideas and by the pleasure of 
being spontaneous, preferring broad overviews and the excitement of the 
initial stages of the creative process to probing a single topic in depth. 

Devon, a successful businesswoman, shares with us some of the 
inner workings of her Seven mindset. 


I am definitely a list person. It’s not really for memory, since I have a 
great memory. It’s more for downloading information so that my 
mind won’t spin on it. For example, I was at a concert where the tick¬ 
ets were hard to get and very expensive. I couldn’t sit through it. My 
mind was torturing me with the things I needed to do. Finally, I had 
to get up and leave. This was very upsetting to the person I went 
with, and I missed a good show. 

Sevens are frequently endowed with quick, agile minds and can be 
exceptionally fast learners. This is true both of their ability to absorb in¬ 
formation (language, facts, and procedures) and their ability to learn new 
manual skills—they tend to have excellent mind-body coordination and 
manual dexterity (typewriting, piano playing, tennis). All of this can 
combine to make a Seven into the quintessential Renaissance person. 







TYPE SEVEN: THE 


ENTHUSIAST 


2 6 3 


Ironically, Sevens’ wide-ranging curiosity and ability to learn quickly 
can also create problems for them. Because they are able to pick up many 
different skills with relative ease, it becomes more difficult for them to 
decide what to do with themselves. As a result, they also do not always 
value their abilities as they would if they had to struggle to gain them. 
When Sevens are more balanced, however, their versatility, curiosity, and 
ability to learn can lead them to extraordinary achievement. 

The root of their problem is common to all of the types of the 
Thinking Triad: they are out of touch with the inner guidance and sup¬ 
port of their Essential nature, and this creates a deep anxiety in Sevens. 
They do not feel that they know how to make choices that will be ben¬ 
eficial to themselves and others. Sevens cope with this anxiety in two 
ways. First, they try to keep their minds busy all of the time. As long as 
they can keep their minds occupied, especially with projects and posi¬ 
tive ideas for the future, they can, to some extent, keep anxiety and neg¬ 
ative feelings out of their conscious awareness. Likewise, since their 
thinking is stimulated by activity, Sevens are compelled to stay on the 
go, moving from one experience to the next, searching for more stimu¬ 
lation. This is not to say that Sevens are spinning their wheels. They 
generally enjoy being practical and getting things done. 

Frances, a successful business consultant, sounds more energetic 
than is humanly possible—and yet she is a typical Seven. 

I am highly, highly productive. At the office, I am joyful and my mind 
is running at its best I might create several marketing campaigns for 
a client, work on the outline for an upcoming seminar, talk out a dif¬ 
ficult problem with a client on the telephone, close two deals, make 
a project list, dictate a few letters, and look up to see that it’s 9:30 
a.m. and my assistant is coming in to start our work for the day. 

Second, Sevens cope with the loss of Essenrial guidance by using 
the trial-and-error method: they try everything to make sure they know 
what is best. On a very deep level, Sevens do not feel that they can find 
ivhatthey really want in life. They therefore tend to try everything—-and 
ultimately may even resort to anything as a substitute for what they are 
really looking for. (“If I can’t have what will really satisfy me, I’ll enjoy 
myself anyway. I’ll have all kinds of experiences—that way I will not 
feel bad about not getting what I really want.”) 

We can see this in action even in the most trivial areas of their daily 
lives. Unable to decide whether he wants vanilla, chocolate, or straw¬ 
berry ice cream, a Seven will want all three flavors—just to be sure that 
he does not miss out on the “right” choice. Having two weeks for a va¬ 
cation and a desire to visit Europe brings a similar quandary. Which 
countries and cities to visit? Which sights to see? The Seven’s way of 


“I still haven't figured out 
what I want to be when 
I grow up." 



2 6 4 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


“If life gives you lemons, 
make lemonade. ” 


dealing with this will be to cram as many different countries, cities, and 
attractions into his vacation as possible. While they are scrambling after 
exciting experiences, the real object of their hearts desire (their per¬ 
sonal Rosebud, as it were) may be so deeply buried in their unconscious 
that they are never really aware of precisely what it is. 

Furthermore, as Sevens speed up their pursuit of whatever seems to 
offer freedom and satisfaction, they tend to make worse choices, and 
they are less able to be satisfied because everything is experienced indi¬ 
rectly, through the dense filter of their fast-paced mental activity. The 
result is that Sevens end up anxious, frustrated, and enraged, with fewer 
resources available to them physically, emotionally, or financially. They 
may end up ruining their health, their relationships, and their finances 
in their search for happiness. 

Gertrude is busy establishing her career and family now, but she 
looks back at how this tendency contributed to her getting a rough 
start in life. 

There wasn’t anything to do at home or in the tiny Southern town I 
grew up in. I was dying to get out of it and go someplace more excit¬ 
ing. When I was sixteen, I started dating,and before long I got pregnant, 
but the father didn’t want to marry me—which was okay since I didn’t 
want to marry him, either. It wasn’t too long before I found somebody 
else, and we got married,and I got to move to a larger city. But it didn’t 
really work out the way I wanted because after I had the baby, we 
broke up and I had to move back home. I stayed there for a year or two 
to get my feet on the ground.When things were looking bleak, I mar¬ 
ried someone else. I’m nineteen now and I guess I’ve done a lot already. 

On the positive side, however, Sevens are extremely optimistic peo¬ 
ple—exuberant and upbeat. They are endowed with abundant vitality 
and a desire to fully participate in their lives each day. They are naturally 
cheerful and good-humored, not taking themselves too seriously, or any¬ 
thing else for that matter. When they are balanced within themselves, 
their joy and enthusiasm for life naturally affect everyone around them. 
They remind us of the pure pleasure of existence—the greatest gift of all. 


THE CHILDHOOD PATTERN 

The Seven’s childhood is flavored by a largely unconscious feeling 
of disconnection from the nurturing figure (often, but not always, the 
biological mother). Generally speaking, Sevens are sensitive to a very 
deep frustration resulting from feelings of being cut off from maternal 
nurturance at an early age, as if they had been taken away from the 



TYPE 


SEVEN: THE 


ENTHUSIAST 


2 6 S 


breast too soon (which may have literally been true in some cases). In 
response, young Sevens unconsciously “decided” to nurture themselves. 
(“I am not going to sit around feeling sorry for myself, waiting for 
somebody to take care of me. I’ll take care of myself!”) This pattern 
does not mean that Sevens were not close to their mothers in child¬ 
hood. But on an emotional level, they unconsciously decided that they 
would have to take care of their own needs. 

The reasons for this perception can vary widely. Perhaps another 
sibling came along, and the young Seven suddenly found he was dis¬ 
placed from his mothers attention. Perhaps an early illness curtailed 
the Sevens nurturing: either she was ill and needed to be hospitalized 
or the mother became ill. 

Devon, the businesswoman we met earlier, recalls: 

One incident that happened when I was three years old made such 
an impression on me that I remember it like it was yesterday. My in¬ 
fant brother was having a convulsion. My mother stood screaming 
and literally pulling handfuls of her long, beautiful black hair out. I re¬ 
member the hair landing on the rose and cream carpet. It was late at 
night, and the ambulance took my mother and my brother away, and 
my father went with them, too. I know that until I was one and a half, 

I was well nurtured by my mother. Then she became pregnant and 
was very sick until my brother was born. My brother was sick early, 
and so I kind of lost my mother along the way. 

Sevens are also heavily influenced by the “separation phase” of ego 
development when they are learning to be more independent of their 
mothers. One way that children manage the difficult process of separa¬ 
tion is by focusing on what psychologists call transitional objects. 
Having toys, games, playmates, and other distractions helps toddlers 
tolerate their anxiery. 

Sevens seem to be still in search of transitional objects. As long as 
Sevens can find and move toward interesting ideas, experiences, people, 
and “toys,” they are able to repress their underlying feelings of frustra¬ 
tion, fear, and hurt. But if, for whatever reasons, Sevens are unable to 
find any adequate transitional objects, their anxiety and emotional con¬ 
flicts crowd into conscious awareness. As quickly as possible, they at¬ 
tempt to manage their panicky feelings by finding another distraction. 
Of course, the more actual deprivation and frustration the Seven child 
suffered, the more intensely the adult Seven will need to “occupy their 
mind” with a variety of distractions. 


Please note that the child¬ 
hood pattern we are de¬ 
scribing here does not 
cause the personality type. 
Rather, it describes ten¬ 
dencies that we observe in 
early childhood that have 
a major impact on the 
type’s adult relationships. 




2 6 6 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


THE WING 
SUBTYPES 


Examples 

Robin Williams 
Steven Spielberg 
W.A. Mozart 
Jim Carrey 
Goldie Hawn 
Carol Burnett 
Sarah Ferguson 
Benjamin Franklin 
Timothy Leary 
Tom Wolfe 


THE SEVEN WITH A SIX-WING: THE ENTERTAINER 

Healthy People of this subtype are productive and playful, re¬ 
taining a belief in life’s goodness and the joy of existence. They are 
often curious and creative, with an excellent sense of humor and a more 
positive outlook than the other subtype. They have quick minds, a co¬ 
operative spirit, and organizational abilities—enabling them to accom¬ 
plish a great deal, seemingly with little effort. They seek variety and 
have the ability to interact easily with people—show business, public 
relations, advertising, media, and the world of entertainment are natu¬ 
rals for them. 

Average Excited by new ideas, fast-talking, witty, and engaging, 
people of this subtype have high energy and provide moments of high 
spirits for others. They are generally productive but can lose focus, be¬ 
come scattered, with less follow-through than the other subtype. To the 
extent that they are insecure, there can be a revved-up, manic, nervous 
quality to them. Looking for strong experiences, they are often either 
in a relationship or looking for one. They do not like to be alone but 
have high requirements of intimates. They often have conflicts between 
a desire to move on to greener pastures and a fear of losing connection. 
There is the possibility of substance abuse in this subtype due to anxi¬ 
ety and hidden feelings of inferiority. 


Examples 

Jack Nicholson 
Lucille Ball 
Joan Rivers 
Howard Stern 
Leonard Bernstein 
Lauren Bacall 
Bette Midler 
Malcolm Forbes 
John F. Kennedy 
“Scarlett O’Hara” 


THE SEVEN WITH AN EIGHT-WING: THE REALIST 

Healthy People of this subtype truly enjoy the world and are 
“materialistic” in the broadest sense of the word. They combine quick¬ 
ness with drive, often leading to material success and positions of 
power and prominence. They are determined to get what they want 
from life; they think strategically and can rapidly organize their inter¬ 
nal and external resources in pursuit of their desires. They are earthy, 
practical, and tough-minded. Their sense of humor expresses itself in a 
biting wit and a taste for the outrageous. 

Average People of this subtype apply their energies in many di¬ 
rections, multitasking or even “multicareering.” They can be aggressive 
and have the willpower and drive to take care of their own needs. They 
tend to be more workaholic than the other subtype, coming from the 
strong desire to accumulate possessions and experiences. (“I’m worth 
it!”) Their focus is more on generating activities than on connecting 
with people. Hence they tend to be pragmatic about relationships— 
looking for a partner, not a romantic fantasy figure. They are not afraid 
to be alone and are clear about their own expectations and how much 
they will tolerate. Directness can verge on bluntness and on pushing 



TYPE 


SEVEN: THE 


ENTHUSIAST 


2 6 7 


people out of the way to get what they want. They can be jaded and 
callous, in contrast to the childish hyperenthusiasm of the Six-wing. 


THE SELF-PRESERVATION INSTINCT IN THE SEVEN 

Getting Mine. In the average range, Self-Preservation Sevens are 
determined, energetic people, driven to make sure that their basic 
needs and comforts will always be met. Their attitudes and concerns 
tend to emphasize the practical and the material. (In the immortal 
words of Scarlett O’Hara, “As God is my witness, I will never go hun¬ 
gry again!”) They tend to be ambitious and work hard to insure that 
options will remain open to them. 

Self-Preservation Sevens are also classic consumers. They enjoy 
shopping, traveling, and pampering themselves, making it their busi¬ 
ness to gather information about potential sources of enjoyment (cata¬ 
logues, movie listings, travel and restaurant guides). These Sevens are 
especially on the lookout for sales and bargains, and like discussing 
these matters with friends. (“I just found the most darling mugs at the 
Pottery Barn.” “That’s a great computer monitor. How much did you 
pay for it?”) While they enjoy socializing, Self-Preservation Sevens fear 
developing dependencies on others and avoid having others depend on 
them. 

Less healthy Self-Preservation Sevens can feel impatient and pan¬ 
icky when their needs are not quickly met. They often experience anx¬ 
ieties about the loss of comforts or of material support and easily feel 
deprived. (Fears about going hungry are not uncommon.) They can be 
extremely demanding and cranky when frustrated, expecting others to 
meet their needs as soon as they are expressed—or even sooner. 

In the unhealthy range, Self-Preservation Sevens can be extremely 
thoughtless and relentless in pursuit of security needs. They aggres¬ 
sively go after whatever they believe will make them feel more secure or 
stave off their anxiety, and brook no interference. Reckless with their fi¬ 
nances and resources, spending out of control or gambling, they can be 
even more profligate with their own health and inner resources. They 
push themselves beyond reasonable limits, eating, drinking, and in¬ 
dulging themselves to excess. 


THE 

INSTINCTUAL 

VARIANTS 


THE SOCIAL INSTINCT IN THE SEVEN 

Missing Out. In the average range, Social Sevens often cultivate a 
group of friends and “advisors” who share enthusiasms and interests with 
them. These people keep the Seven informed of new possibilities and 



2 6 8 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


provide the stimulation and variety that Sevens enjoy. Idealistic people, 
they like getting involved with social interactions and causes, finding 
these activities exciting. However, once involved in projects with other 
people, Social Sevens can become frustrated and feel bogged down by 
others’ slower pace. At such times, social responsibility begins to feel bur¬ 
densome—they are caught in a conflict between the desire to fulfill their 
commitments and the desire to go off and do their own thing. Moreover, 
Social Sevens are always on the lookout for a more stimulating setting 
(“This New Year’s gathering is pretty nice, but I bet Ted’s party will really 
be jumping after midnight!”). Social Sevens also resent authority, seeing 
it as arbitrary and unnecessary—yet another source of social restriction. 

Less healthy Social Sevens tend to scatter their energy and re¬ 
sources, to half commit. They make sure to fill their calendars and date 
books, but also “pencil in” back-up plans, so that they are not trapped 
in any particular course of action. They tend to have many pokers in 
the fire, but are too distracted to get white-hot about any of them. 
They are friendly and engaging, even charming, but easily feel trapped, 
and may cancel appointments or dates with little or no notice if anxi¬ 
ety or a more promising social engagement presents itself. 

In the unhealthy range, Social Sevens tend to dissipate their force 
and talent in endless successions of meetings, social gatherings, and 
“planning sessions” that are never brought to a conclusion. They leave 
a trail of loose ends and broken hearts, never alighting anywhere for 
long. They are unsettled and unsettling since flight from anxiety ren¬ 
ders them irresponsible and leads them into potentially dangerous and 
destructive “social scenes.” 


THE SEXUAL INSTINCT IN THE SEVEN 

The Neophile. In the average range, Sexual Sevens are constantly 
looking for something new and beyond the ordinary; like Fours, they 
tend to reject the mundane. In all of their activities and interactions, 
they want to experience the intense charge of being alive. They see life 
through heightened imagination, idealizing themselves, their relation¬ 
ships, and reality. They often have wide-ranging curiosity and interests 
and are fascinated by new ideas and topics they see as being on the cut¬ 
ting edge. Sexual Sevens are magnetized by people whom they find in¬ 
teresting or refreshing. When the.radar of their sexual instinct locks on 
to such a person, they do not hesitate to approach the person with 
charm and genuine interest. They feel temporarily dazzled and hypno¬ 
tized by the object of their curiosity and may induce similar feelings in 
others. Sexual. Sevens enjoy the excitement of fantasizing about future 
adventures and shared interests with the new person. They love wild 



TYPE 


SEVEN: THE 


ENTHUSIAST 


2 6 9 


ideas, wit, and humor—their minds move very quickly, but this can 
also cause restlessness with themselves and their relationships. 

Less healthy Sexual Sevens can become fickle—both with their in¬ 
terests and with their affections. They fear commitment, preferring the 
intense feelings of infatuation that occur in the earliest stages of a rela¬ 
tionship. (They love falling in love.) They revel in romance and in the 
process of mutual discovery, but as soon as the feelings become famil¬ 
iar, they are ready to explore other possibilities. Similarly, restlessness 
causes them to lack discernment. They may get involved in faddish or 
sensational ideas in glitzy packaging that are little more than temporary 
distractions. Disappointment soon follows. 

In the unhealthy range, Sexual Sevens become even more reckless in 
their pursuit of charged excitement. They may involve themselves in 
crazy schemes and unrealistic or dangerous love affairs. They become 
thrill-seekers, looking for more and more extraordinary sources of enter¬ 
tainment while being less and less affected by any of it. They become 
hardened and dissipated from living on the edge, often burning out or 
damaging themselves in some permanent way from their excesses. 


Most Sevens will encounter the following issues at some point in 
their lives. Noticing these patterns, “catching ourselves in the act,” 
and simply seeing our underlying habitual responses to life will do 
much to release us from the negative aspects of our type. 


THE SEVEN’S 
CHALLENGES TO 
GROWTH 


▲ 

THE WAKE-UP CALL FOR TYPE SEVEN: “THE GRASS 
IS ALWAYS GREENER” 


Sevens’ characteristic temptation is the tendency to become dissat¬ 
isfied with whatever they are doing or are currently experiencing. The 
grass is always greener somewhere else, and so they begin to look for¬ 
ward to the future, as if another event or activity will be the solution to 
their problems. (“I’m having dinner with friends now, but I wonder 
what’s going on at that gallery opening tonight? Maybe if I eat quickly, 
I’ll be able to go there, too!”) If Sevens ignore their Wake-up Call—get¬ 
ting distracted by the possibilities of the next moment rather than being 
fully in the present one—they will begin moving in a wrong direction. 

Imagine that you are talking with someone in a crowded restaurant 
and begin to overhear another conversation nearby. Do you shift your 
attention to the other conversation and eavesdrop while pretending to 
still be engaged with the first conversation? If so, you have succumbed 
to the Seven’s Wake-up Call—with the result that you would enjoy nei¬ 
ther conversation and would subtly insult your dinner partner who 
would likely sense your relocated attention. 



Key Terms: 


Sevens let go of the belief that they require specific objects and experiences 


|j 

Level 


to feel fulfilled, so they are able to fully assimilate their experiences and be 

rl 

1 

Joyful 

.* /> J 

nourished by them. They also paradoxically achieve their Basic Desire—to 

E 


Satisped 

be satisfied and content, to have their needs fulfilled — and they become 

A 



appreciative, ecstatic, and deeply grateful. 


Level 

Anticipating 

Sevens are focused on the world of possibilities and are excited by thinking 

L 

' 2 

Enthusiastic 

about all the things they will do. Self-image: “I am happy, spontaneous, 

T 



and outgoing.” 

H 

Level 


Sevens reinforce their self-image by fully engaging with life and by doing 


3 

ilLlUfjWl 

Productive 

things that will ensure that they will have what they need. Their passion¬ 

Y 



ate gusto for life is revealed in great versatility and a prolific output. They 




are optimistic and bold but also practical and accomplished. 




Sevens begin to fear that they are missing out on other, more worthwhile 


Level 

Acquisitive 

experiences; thus they become restless and interested in having more and 

A 

4 

Consuming 

more options available to them. They stay busy, juggling many different 

V 



tasks and plans and trying to keep up with the latest trends. 

E 



Sevens worry that they will be bored or frustrated and that painful feelings 


Level 

Distracted 

will arise, so they try to keep themselves excited and occupied. They pump 

R 

5 

Scattered 

up the energy around them by talking, joking around, and pursuing new 

A 



adventures, but they are often distracted and unfocused. 

r 



Sevens are afraid that there will not be enough of whatever they believe 

VJ 

Level 

Self-Centered 

they need, so they become impatient, seeking instant gratification. They 

E 

6 

Excessive 

can be very demanding but are seldom satisfied when their demands are 




met. Jaded and wasteful, they are cavalier about their habits, denying guilt. 




Sevens fear that their actions are bringing them pain and unhappiness, and 

u 

Level 

Insatiable 

this may be true. They panic, trying to avoid their pain at any cost. They 

N 

7 

Escaping 

are highly impulsive and irresponsible and do whatever promises tempo¬ 

H 



rary relief from their anxiety, but they are joyless in their pursuits. 

■ ■ 



Sevens become so desperate to escape their anxiety that they fly out of con¬ 

E 

Level 

Manic 

trol, recklessly acting out their pain rather than feeling it. Hysterical activity 

A 

8 

(Depressive) 

Reckless 

alternates with deep depression as they become increasingly unstable and er¬ 




ratic. Numb and heedless, they go to extreme lengths to suppress their pain. 

L 



The realization that they may have ruined their health, their lives, and their 

T 

Level 

Overwhelmed 

capacity for enjoyment is too much for unhealthy Sevens. Feeling that they 

H 

9 

Paralyzed 

no longer have options or ways out of their pain, they are panic-stricken 




and feel trapped. Often their excesses have resulted in severe financial and 

Y 



physical problems, even chronic pain. 











TYPE 


SEVEN: THE 


ENTHUSIAST 


2 7 I 


This style of wandering attention has far more serious consequences 
for Sevens since so much of their lives are ruled by it. Thinking becomes 

anticipating, and they do not stay with anything long enough either to “I don’t want to miss 

experience it deeply or to get any real satisfaction from it. When Sevens out. ” 

miss their Wake-up Call, no matter what they are doing, they are pulled 

somewhere else. Their wandering attention compels them to jump up 

and turn on the television set, check the refrigerator for a snack, call a 

friend on the phone, or doodle on a notepad rather than get down to 

work—or even stay with the novel they were enjoying. 


TRAINING THE MONKEY MIND 


Choose any ordinary activity and concentrate on it. As you bring your attention to whatever task you 
have chosen, also notice when your attention has wandered on to something else. Gently bring your atten¬ 
tion back to the original task until it wanders again.Then bring it back again to the task and so forth, re¬ 
peating the attempt to stay focused. 

It will generally be difficult to do this, especially in the beginning. If you stay with it, however, and if you 
are able to identify what is distracting you away from the task, you will have made an enormously valuable 
insight into the triggers of your Wake-up Call. Are there physical tensions that are also triggers? Does 
hunger, tiredness, or anxiety cause you to become distracted? 


The Social Role: The Energizer 

Average Sevens define themselves as the “Energizer,” the person 
who must pump energy and excitement into a situation so that every¬ 
one will be charged up—and so that they can stay excited themselves. 
Since Sevens have a great deal of energy, it is easy for them to play this 
role. Like all Social Roles, however, once it has begun to be identified 
with, the person finds it increasingly difficult not to act this way. 

Playing the role of the Energizer, the Spark Plug or Catalyst—as 
well as coconspirator and tempter into mischief—allows Sevens to be¬ 
come the center of attention. Their company is frequently sought after 
because others’ spirits are uplifted by their cheer. 

Kansas is an accomplished actress who has also enjoyed a career as 
a casting agent. 

It’s nice to know that you can affect the lives of others with your energy. 

I can often see spirits rise right in front of my eyes. I like to make people 
feel happy. I enjoy having that power.At times it’s a conflict, though, as I 
attract a few too many people who are basically "downers.” Truthfully, I 
do not think they want to feel better. I’m trying to learn to let them go 






2 7 2 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


their own way and save my energy for better uses, where it’s appreci¬ 
ated. It’s a gift to be able to lift the spirits of others in a natural way. 

“Come on everybody! Let’s The problem arises when average Sevens begin to function only as 

get some juice going. ” superchargers who are outspoken and outrageous, who must be stimu¬ 

lating and dazzling all the time. This inevitably puts an enormous bur¬ 
den on them—and it becomes wearing on others as well. Most people, 
even other Sevens, find that relentless energy eventually becomes one¬ 
dimensional and tiresome. If others cannot keep up their pace, Sevens 
often interpret this as a form of rejection or abandonment that angers 
and frustrates them, leading them to move on to greener pastures and 
new audiences. Increasingly, however, they may feel trapped in their 
role, not knowing how to relate to others or get their needs met. 

Velma, a multitalented educator and business consultant, experi¬ 
enced this frustration in her early teens. 

As a child I felt free, uninhibited, full of life, and aware that I made people 
laugh. Other children sought me out because I was fun to be with.As a 
teenager, I wanted to be taken more seriously, but I never felt I was, es¬ 
pecially by my family. So I responded to their level of expectation by act¬ 
ing out or by being silly, funny, or dramatic (rather than real) to get 
attention. 


STIRRING THE POT 


When you catch yourself entertaining others—getting the juice flowing, so to speak—notice whom you 
are doing this for. What does this excited state do for your contact with yourself? With others? Is it satisfy¬ 
ing? What do you think would happen if you did not pump up the excitement in your environment? 


Gluttony and Never Being Satisfied 

The Seven’s characteristic vice is gluttony, literally the desire to stuff 
oneself with food—and Sevens can be guilty of overeating and over¬ 
drinking, just as they can overdo all physical gratifications. Although a 
literal interpretation of gluttony can sometimes apply to Type Seven, it 
is more insightful to understand this Passion metaphorically, as the at¬ 
tempt to fill up an inner emptiness with things and experiences. 

Gluttony is the emotional response of wanting to stuff the self with 
external gratifications in response to the experience of feeling frus¬ 
trated, empty, and needy. Rather than experience emptiness and need¬ 
iness directly. Sevens attempt to escape from anxiety by distracting 







TYPE 


SEVEN: THE 


ENTHUSIAST 


2 7 3 


themselves both with pleasures of the flesh and with mental stimula¬ 
tion. The deeper their underlying emotional distortions from child¬ 
hood, the less likely Sevens will feel that they have enough experiences 
to satisfy them—they must have more to completely fill themselves— 
thus falling into the “Passion” of gluttony. 

Because Sevens keep their minds full in order to defend themselves 
from feeling anxiety, they have trouble taking in sensory information 
unless it makes a strong impression on them. Their identity is thus 
based on staying mentally excited ; the content of their minds—their in¬ 
dividual thoughts—are not as important as the degree of stimulation 
and the anticipation of gratification that is produced. Then again, 
Sevens seek strong stimuli so that the impressions that do filter in will 
register on their minds and satisfy them. Since their identity is depen¬ 
dent on staying stimulated, Sevens tend to put few brakes on them¬ 
selves and dislike boundaries or limitations of any kind. They want to 
be free to respond to impulses and desires as soon as they arise, with¬ 
out delay. Like all of the Passions, gluttony is self-defeating in the long 
run because the more Sevens “stuff themselves” indiscriminately in an 
attempt to find the nurturance they feel they were deprived of in child¬ 
hood, the more unsatisfied they become. 

Seeking Stimulation and Acquiring New Experiences 

No matter what type we are, we often pursue what we think will 
make us happy without considering whether our choices have the capac¬ 
ity to make us happy. Under what circumstances does happiness arise? 
What makes it endure for more than a little while? How can we increase 
our happiness without running the risk of going overboard in some way? 
These kinds of questions are the special themes ofType Seven. 

Average Sevens are typically sophisticates, connoisseurs, and collec¬ 
tors—those who know the best French restaurant or cognac or jeweler, 
what new movies are worth seeing, and what the latest news and trends 
are because they do not want to miss out. 

One of the clearest demarcations between the healthy and average 
Sevens is that healthy Sevens know that they are most gratified by being 
focused and productive; they are contributing something new and po¬ 
tentially valuable to the world. Average Sevens become less productive 
because anxiety causes them to focus more on ways of entertaining and 
distracting themselves. Their creativity becomes supplanted by an in¬ 
creasing desire to acquire and consume. 

Tara, a filmmaker, recognizes this pattern in herself. 

It’s unfortunately true that my tendency is to get very excited about 

something new, then get bored with it and not follow through. For 


“Life is a progress from want 
to want, not from enjoyment to 
enjoyment." 

Samuel Johnson 



274 THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

me, variety is the spice of life.Talking about doing something “inter¬ 
esting” makes me feel better, even if we don’t do it. I like to learn new 
things. I love to take classes—whether it’s cooking, or ballroom danc¬ 
ing, or Rollerblading, whatever. We get at least ten different maga¬ 
zines. I also like to bargain-shop because I like to check out all my 
options and make sure I have the most bang for the buck. It’s also 
been hard for me to commit to a relationship because I’m always 
looking for something that might be better, making sure I’ve checked 
out all my options. 


FINDING THE GIFT 


Notice how the anticipation and desire for other experiences and things prevents you from savoring 
what you are experiencing right now.To explore this, you can play a game: take a moment to find something 
of wonder in your immediate experience. What is the gift you are receiving right now? 


Boredom and Keeping Their Options Open 


"The essence of boredom is to 
find yourself in the obsessive 
search for novelty.” 

George Leonard 


Sevens frequently complain about boredom and how much they 
hate it, although what they call boredom is the anxiety they feel when 
the environment is not providing adequate stimulation to keep pain 
and other negative feelings at bay. Similarly, feeling restricted and un¬ 
able to move on creates not only boredom but even panic. They do not 
want to feel stuck in any situation that would “tie them down” or force 
them to confront painful feelings before they arc ready to do so. 

To defend against boredom and the feelings that it brings, Sevens 
want to keep their minds full of fascinating possibilities, and they want 
to make sure that their supply lines to the new, the exciting, and the 
fashionable will always be open. 

Velma, whom we met earlier, elaborates: 


I preferred variety in all things. I had specific friends for my intellec¬ 
tual side, different ones for my emotional side, and altogether differ¬ 
ent ones for my sexual side. I was driven to seek fulfillment for all of 
these different sides of myself. It was not possible to resist.The more 
experiences I had, the more I wanted and then grew to need. My en¬ 
ergy was cycled and replenished by the diversity of my experiences. 
I managed to handle many different things without exhausting my¬ 
self—I was compelled to “do” everything, and I had the energy for all 
of it. I never wanted to do the traditional thing. Everything new and 
different that I tried fed my desire to continue to seek out the new 
and different. An unrelenting cycle. 






TYPE 


SEVEN: THE 


ENTHUSIAST 


2 7 5 


Without inner guidance, Sevens must learn everything by a process 
of trial and error, and they are not likely to take other people’s advice 
because they want to experience everything for themselves. They be¬ 
lieve that by experiencing as many things as possible, they will know 
which options will make them happiest. But it is not humanly possible 
to experiment with everything: there are too many places to visit, foods 
to eat, clothes to wear, experiences to have. Their lives would be over 
before Sevens could have all the experiences they would need to have 
to be able to guide themselves from experience alone. Trying everything 
to see what it is like would take several lifetimes, and the near-infinite 
possibilities of the world would still not be exhausted. Furthermore, 
some of those experiences will most likely be damaging and dangerous 
since there are things in life that one needs to avoid, or at least be ex¬ 
tremely cautious about. But for better or worse, Sevens usually have to 
learn things the hard way. 


THE “B” WORD 


Study what you are calling boredom.What does it feel like in your body? What is the sensation of bore¬ 
dom? As you are able to sense it, what associations or memories does it bring up? 


Being Indiscriminate and Overdoing Their Activities 

Average Sevens easily lose a sense of priorities, throwing themselves 
into constant activity, often overdoing things in many areas of their 
lives. They tend to be lavish with money to whatever degree their cir¬ 
cumstances allow. They typically try to live life in the fast lane, whether 
they reside in a small town and must content themselves with trips to 
the local mall and bowling alley, or in a larger city with many more dis¬ 
tractions and conveniences available to them. If they cannot get out, 
indiscriminate Sevens may watch television all day while chain-smok¬ 
ing or talking on the phone, or they may pass the time visiting friends “Why can’t everyone keep 
or hanging out at the local bar. u p w jtb mei” 

Overdoing also applies to ideas, and Sevens tend to become stuck 
on something that catches their fancy, becoming so enthusiastic about 
it that they wear it into the ground. But the opposite is also true: as 
they become less healthy, they become less focused and less able to fol¬ 
low through. Many partially completed projects lie in their wake. The 
fact that many of their good (perhaps even brilliant) ideas are never re¬ 
alized becomes an additional source of frustration to them. If Sevens do 
not deal with the underlying anxieties that are keeping them in flight 







2 7 6 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


from themselves, they ultimately squander many of their best opportu¬ 
nities and inspirations. 

Their quick minds and ability to talk can also deteriorate into 
being glib and facile, although Sevens generally consider this an ability 
to improvise for the sake of getting things moving or making for a bet¬ 
ter story. Average Sevens also tend to consider themselves instant ex¬ 
perts on all manner of things, often getting in over their heads—and 
attempting to get through by “winging it.” 


REALISTIC SCHEDULES 


For a few days, keep track of how long it actually takes you to do things: how long it takes to get to work, 
to a store, to shop, to meet with a friend, and so forth. See how this fits with your intended schedule. Is it 
possible to drop one or two activities per day to give yourself a little breathing room and to ensure that 
you will be able to fully enjoy the experiences you have committed to? 


Avoiding Anxiety and Painful Feelings 


"A man who finds no satisfac¬ 
tion in himself seeks for it in vain 
elsewhere.” 


La Rochefoucauld 


Just as, during wartime, an enemy can jam radio signals by trans¬ 
mitting another, stronger radio signal, Sevens “jam” their own aware¬ 
ness of pain, deprivation, and sadness by constantly keeping their 
minds occupied with interesting and exciting possibilities. This does 
not mean, however, that average Sevens do not feel pain or suffer or get 
depressed—awareness of their suffering eventually penetrates their de¬ 
fenses. But as soon as possible, Sevens are on the go again. In a similar 
way. Sevens become adept at using their agile minds to reframe their 
experiences—finding a way to accentuate the positive and deflect their 
deeper feelings about even major tragedies. 

Jessie, a therapist who embodies many of the sparkling qualities of 
Type Seven, recalls reframing a major loss in her life. 


At age eleven, my dad suddenly died of a massive heart attack. I can 
remember thinking,‘‘What are my options? What is the best thing I 
can do now?” Mom is in shock and suicidal, and my little sister is act¬ 
ing out. I can grow up. I decided I can be as happy, cheerful, and help¬ 
ful as I can be.There is no time to linger in pain.This is the only way 
I will ever remain free—free from depression and despair. 






E 


SEVEN 


THE 


ENTHUSIAST 


2 







2 7 8 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Others experience Sevens’ impatience as unbridled self-centered- 
ness. While Sevens can be attention-grabbing, they are not doing so be¬ 
cause they want to be esteemed and admired by others, which would 
be a narcissistic motivation typical of types in the Feeling Triad. In fact, 
in certain situations, Sevens do not mind looking foolish if it will get 
the energy going and keep them out of contact with underlying anxi¬ 
ety. By contrast, Threes would never willingly let their foibles and im¬ 
perfections hang out the way Sevens often do. 


UNCOVERING FRUSTRATION 


Observe the energy of frustration in yourself. When you notice that you are frustrated, stop and take a 
few deep breaths. What does frustration actually feel like? What happens when you sense it instead of act¬ 
ing it out? 


Insensitivity and Impulsiveness 

Since keeping up the momentum of their lives is a primary value, 
Sevens can take a kind of hit-and-run approach that leaves others hurt 
and confused. Staying in motion means suppressing guilt and regret 
about their actions. Sevens do not generally wish to hurt others, but 
their defenses make it difficult for them to acknowledge the pain that 
“It's not my problem. ” ' they cause—or even to be aware of it. 

Avoiding anxiety also causes Sevens to become increasingly impul¬ 
sive—they leap before they look. Serious physical problems can result 
from heavy drinking or eating the wrong foods, smoking, or simply 
pushing themselves too hard in a constant search for stimulation. At 
their worst, they can be verbally abusive—intensely demanding, pushy, 
and rather nasty. 

Devon speaks frankly about her way of dealing with problems. 

There were times when I shut people out of my life on short notice. 

One day they thought we had a future, the next day I was saying good¬ 
bye. At the time, I had no remorse.They had driven me to leave, it was 
all their doing.Today I feel very bad that I had so little concern for 
their feelings, but the bottom line was if I began to feel pain, I didn't be¬ 
lieve I would survive that pain. So I ran from it and found new pleasure 
elsewhere. It was a sure bet that when I felt down, I would get up, put 
my best dress and high heels on, and go out dancing. 






TYPE 


SEVEN: THE 


ENTHUSIAST 


2 7 9 


CLEANING UP MESSES 


People who know you recognize that you do not intend to hurt them, but in more stress-filled periods, 
you may have done so inadvertently. 

When appropriate, have a conversation with a friend or loved one whom you fear you may have hurt. 
Ask their permission to talk with them first, then after you have apologized, hear what they have to say. Share 
with them your feelings about any aspects that still remain unresolved.This may not be easy for you, but 
clearing the air this way can go far in reducing your own underlying hurt and anxiety—and your need to 
bury them in excess and activity. 


Escapism, Excessiveness, and Addiction 

Average Sevens see themselves as spontaneous and fun-loving, with 
a live-for-today philosophy. What they are not always aware of, how¬ 
ever, is how much this attitude can cover over an increasingly escapist 
approach to life. To the degree that Sevens are driven by fears and anx¬ 
ieties, they are not as free and spontaneous as they believe. They may 
blindly and impulsively pursue whatever promises immediate satisfac¬ 
tion, not considering the costs of their impulses. Their philosophy is 
“Enjoy now, pay later.” 

Even painful, negative experiences can be exciting and can serve as 
a way of masking over deeper pain. For instance, the pain of alcoholism 
or drug addiction can be terrible, but for deteriorating Sevens, this pain 
is preferable to being overwhelmed by deeper grief and panic. 

Sevens are caught in a cycle of anticipation, craving, and excess that we 
call the chocolate syndrome. One of the most exciting things about getting 
a box of expensive chocolate is the anticipation of the first bite. Similarly, 
it is not so much the experience itself but their anticipation of the experience 
that most excites Sevens. And as everyone (but Sevens) knows, a pleasure 
overdone can quickly become a source of displeasure. After several choco¬ 
lates, we begin to experience the opposite of pleasure: pain and disgust. 

The Seven’s pursuit of gratification can take on the quality of an 
addiction: they require higher and higher doses of whatever has pleased 
them in order to stay in a state of stimulation and euphoria. Even dan¬ 
gerous experiences begin to leave them unaffected. 

Tara speaks frankly about her past in this regard. 

Avoiding things builds up anxiety, and as the anxiety becomes more 
and more intolerable, the need to distract becomes greater and 
greater. The distraction has to be "louder" than the anxiety to 
squelch it. I think this is why I got so out of control at various times 
in my life. Instead of being with the fear and pain, I’d run from it. 


“Whatever gets you 
through the night. ” 




2 8 0 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Avoid it at all costs, until it was impossible to run anymore. I could 
have easily overdosed on drugs, or gotten killed driving 140 mph. 


ACCESSING YOUR FOLLOW-THROUGH 


In your Inner Work Journal, make two lists. First, make a list of the major projects you have begun as an 
adult that you did not get around to finishing.Then make a list of the projects you have actually completed. 
Do you see patterns in both lists? Are you more serious about the excitement of having new plans and pos¬ 
sibilities than the excitement of the process and satisfaction of finishing them? To what degree are you “ad¬ 
dicted” to staying on the move at the expense of actually accomplishing something important to yourself? 
What do you think you have been running toward—and what have you been running away from? 


REACTING TO 
STRESS: 

SEVEN GOES TO 
ONE 

▲ 


Under increased stress, Sevens become aware that they need to 
focus their energies if they want to accomplish things. Thus, like aver¬ 
age Ones, they begin to feel the need to restrain themselves. They begin 
to work harder, feeling that they alone can do the job properly, and at¬ 
tempt to impose limits on their behaviors. In effect, they force them¬ 
selves to stay on track, while quickly becoming frustrated with these 
structures and limits. They may get either more restless and scattered, 
or more self-controlled and rigid, in which case their usual vivacious¬ 
ness can give way to a grim seriousness. 

Also like average Ones, Sevens under stress attempt to educate oth¬ 
ers—whether about an exciting book or workshop, a good place to 
shop, or a particular political or spiritual viewpoint. Their enthusiasm 
for their own opinions can rapidly shift into a tendency to debatd or 
critique the views of others. They can become “short,” impersonal, and 
highly impatient with any degree of incompetence in themselves or 
others. Under high stress, their underlying anger and resentment bub¬ 
ble to the surface, and they vent their frustration by scolding, nitpick¬ 
ing, and delivering withering sarcastic comments. 


THE RED FLAG: 
THE SEVEN IN 
TROUBLE 

▲ 


If Sevens are overstressed for an extended period of time, if they 
have suffered a serious crisis without adequate support or coping skills, 
or if they have suffered from chronic abuse in childhood, they may cross 
the shock point into the unhealthy aspects of their type. This may lead 
them to a fearful recognition that their lives are becoming out of control 
and that their choices and actions are actually increasing their pain. 

If Sevens can recognize the truth in these fears, they may begin to 
turn their lives around and move toward health and liberation. On the 
other hand, they may become even more scattered, impulsive, and 





TYPE 


SEVEN: THE 


ENTHUSIAST 


2 8 I 


manic, desperately throwing themselves into reckless activities to avoid 
their pain at any cost. (“Whatever gets you through the night is okay.”) 
If Sevens persist in this attitude, they may cross into the unhealthy 
range. If you or someone you know is exhibiting the following warning 
signs for an extended period of time—more than two or three weeks— 
getting counseling, therapy, or other support is highly advisable. 


WARNING SIGNS 

POTENTIAL PATHOLOGY: 
Manic-Depressive Dis¬ 
orders, Borderline Conditions, 
some elements of Histrionic 
Personality Disorder, Ob¬ 
sessive-Compulsive Disorders, 
substance abuse. 


► Extreme dissipation and attempts to escape anxiety 

► Serious longstanding and debilitating addictions 

► Impulsiveness, offensiveness, and infantile reactions 

► Compulsive activities and highly elated mood 

► Periods of being out of control 

► Mania, depression, and wild mood swings 

► Periods of panic and paralyzing terror 


► When you are mentally revved up, take a moment to breathe and 
see what is really going on with you. Notice especially if you are afraid or 
upset about something, and see if you can observe how the velocity of 
your thoughts leads you away from experiencing these feelings. When 
you see your mind racing and free-associating, it is a good time to ask 
yourself, “What’s up?” Almost always you will see that you are masking 
some source of anxiety. The word boring can be a big clue. Any time you 
feel in danger of being “bored,” stop and see what you are avoiding. 

► It is not so much that you ignore your negative feelings as that 
you process them incompletely. You more or less notice them and then 
want to move on to the next thing. Really allowing things to affect you, 
to impact you on a deeper level, is not the same as wallowing in nega¬ 
tivity. On the contrary, letting the events of your life, even the painful 
ones, touch you deeply will only enrich your experience and make your 
joy more meaningful and real. See how your feelings are experienced in 
your body. What does sadness feel like? Where do you notice it? In your 
stomach or your chest or your face? How about eagerness? Simply iden¬ 
tifying a feeling, saying to yourself, “I feel sad,” is a beginning, but it is 
not the same as fully experiencing and being affected by your sadness— 
or your happiness, for that matter. 

► Learn to notice your impatience and its roots. As a Seven, you 
can be extremely impatient with the pace and energy levels of others 


PRACTICES THAT 
HELP SEVENS 
DEVELOP 





282 THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

but also extremely impatient with yourself. Because you are talented in 
many areas, you tend not to develop any one fully. You shortchange 
yourself both because of your impatience with yourself and with the 
process of learning and acquiring skills. Also be on guard for the “in¬ 
stant expert” syndrome. A basic grasp of a subject or a certain facility 
with a skill, combined with your charm and bravado, can certainly 
open doors for you. But if you do not really know what you are talk¬ 
ing about, if you have not really done your homework, if your ideas are 
half-baked, others will soon catch on, and your reputation—despite 
your talents—will suffer. Sevens hate being referred to as superficial, 
but it is your impatience that causes others to perceive you that way. 
Take the time to bring your abilities to fruition. 

► Find the joy of the ordinary. Like Fours, Sevens tend to seek out 
heightened reality—you like things to be extraordinary, bibulous, ex¬ 
citing, and stimulating. The amazing thing, however, is that when we 
are present, all of our experiences are extraordinary. Cleaning your room 
or eating an orange can be a totally fulfilling experience if you are in it 
one hundred percent. Each moment is a unique source of delight and 
amazement. Your fear of deprivation and your desire to entertain your¬ 
self prevent you from finding the fulfillment you seek. Think about 
which moments from your past were the most alive and fulfilling—a 
child’s birth, a wedding, a picnic with friends during college, a perfect 
sunset. What about them made them so satisfying and real? Also notice 
that these moments do not necessarily make exciting stories, although 
they have another quality that makes them fulfilling. Your life will 
change to the degree that you find out what that quality is. 

► Meditation can be extremely helpful for Sevens, as for Type Six, 
especially for quieting down the mind. If you begin to meditate, you 
will soon recognize the intensity of your mental chatter, and the effort 
to relax and identify more with your presence in the moment will be 
challenging. It is also extremely important to notice how you endyonx 
meditation. Sevens tend to lurch out of the meditation, as if the per¬ 
sonality cannot wait two seconds to start revving up again. Be mindful 
as you end the sitting, and see if you can carry your inner quiet into 
your actions. The quality of the meditative mind will do little to trans¬ 
form us if it is confined to those few minutes a day we allot for our 
inner life. 

► You do tend to be happier and more exuberant than most peo¬ 
ple. See what happens when you can share that feeling with others 
without pushing—and without “demonstrating” it to them. You are 
most profound and effective when you are grounded and steady—at 

, such times your joy is evident and affecting to everyone. Besides, if 



TYPE SEVEN: THE EN THUSIAST 

your joy is genuine, it does not depend on “stirring the pot” and can¬ 
not be reduced or lost if people are not reacting to it. 


Even average Sevens tend to be creative, but when they are more 
balanced and grounded, they can be brilliant, multifaceted people, syn¬ 
thesizing and cross-fertilizing their many diverse areas of experience. 
Their varied abilities and interests, enjoyment of work, and extroverted 
qualities often lead them to success in the world. 

Sevens, as they say, have their feet on the ground. They are not 
wool-gatherers or idlers—they are engaged with the reality and with the 
practical business of living life. They understand that they must be real¬ 
istic, productive, and hardworking to have the financial means to sup¬ 
port their many dreams. 

Thus, healthy Sevens are not satisfied with merely consuming the 
work of others—whether that work is a hamburger or a piece of designer 
clothing. They know that their primary enjoyment of life comes from con¬ 
tributing something to the world. Healthy Sevens would rather design a 
dress than buy one. They would rather make a movie than watch some¬ 
one elses. After all, then they can have it be exactly the way they want it 
to be. 

One way that Sevens constructively work with their versatility and 
desire for different experiences is through multitasking. By maintaining 
several different tasks at any given time, they are able to shift from one 
to the other, to use a variety of skills, and to see ways that their different 
skills or interests relate with each other. All of this can be satisfying for 
Sevens, and as long as they can prioritize and set limits, they excel at this 
style of working. 

Similarly, Sevens have a talent for generating ideas quickly and spon¬ 
taneously. They are big-picture people who like getting projects started 
and are good at brainstorming fresh approaches to problems. Their minds 
almost overflow with creative concepts and possibilities, and they excel at 
considering options that others might not perceive. Healthy Sevens also 
maintain the discipline required to develop their ideas to fruition. 

Perhaps Type Sevens greatest gift is the ability to maintain a posi¬ 
tive outlook and sense of abundance. When this outlook is tempered 
by realism and a willingness to deal with difficult feelings, Sevens are 
able to generate an infectious enthusiasm for whatever situation is at 
hand. Far from timid, they live fully and encourage others to do the 
same. (“You only go around once.”) Further, their willingness to ex¬ 
plore and to be open to new experiences can lead them to be well 
rounded and knowledgeable. They truly make the world their home 
and enjoy sharing with others the riches they find on their journeys. 

Tara continues: 


2 8 3 


BUILDING ON 
THE SEVEN’S 
STRENGTHS 

A 


“The world is my oyster. 



2 8 4 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Life is a big playground. Everything is interesting. There’s a kind of 
spontaneous joy and curiosity I have about life. I feel supported by 
the universe, like everything will turn out okay. Even when things are 
dark and bad, something in me really believes that it will turn out all 
right in the end.The world can be cruel and awful, but my sense is 
that it isn't personally hostile toward me. Because of this basic feel¬ 
ing of security, I’m more willing to be open and curious about things. 


THE PATH OF 
INTEGRATION: 
SEVEN GOES TO 
FIVE 

A 


Sevens actualize themselves and remain healthy by learning to slow 
down and quiet the rapid activity of their minds so that impressions 
can affect them more deeply, in the manner of healthy Fives. No longer 
addicted to seeking extraordinary experiences and distractions, inte¬ 
grating Sevens are able to stay with their observations and experiences 
long enough to discover all sorts of amazing things about themselves 
and the world around them. This both gives them more of the guid¬ 
ance they seek and enhances their productivity and creativity. Further, 
what they produce has far more resonance and meaning for others. 

Cultivating a quieter, more focused mind brings Sevens into closer 
contact with their own Essential guidance; thus they are able to recognize 
which experiences will be of real value to them. No longer distracted by 
anxiety about making wrong choices and missing out on the best course of 
action, integrating Sevens simply know what to do. Exploring reality in 
greater depth does not cause integrating Sevens to lose their spontaneity or 
enthusiasm; on the contrary, they become more free to savor each moment. 

Imitating the average qualities of Fives, however, will do little to 
help integrating Sevens. Getting lost in thoughts, emotional detach¬ 
ment, and anxieties about coping with the needs of others will only ex¬ 
acerbate the Seven’s cerebral circus. Trying to force themselves to 
concentrate will not work either, because such efforts are based on re¬ 
pression. But as Sevens learn to quiet their minds and tolerate the anx¬ 
iety that arises, they gradually and naturally begin to open to the clarity, 
innovation, insight, and knowing qualities of the healthy Five. 


TRANSFORMING 
PERSONALITY 
INTO ESSENCE 


The key thing for Sevens to understand about themselves is that as 
long as they are directly pursuing happiness and satisfaction, they will 
never attain them. Fulfillment is not the result of “getting” anything: it 
is a state of being that arises when we allow the richness of the present 
moment to touch us. When Sevens understand this and are able to let 
go of the conditions they place on their happiness, an inner spacious¬ 
ness opens up, and the simple pleasure of existing arises in them. They 
understand that Being itself, pure existence, is pleasurable. Thus, they 
become deeply and profoundly appreciative of life itself. 



TYPE 


SEVEN: THE 


ENTHUSIAST 


2 8 S 


After years of inner work, Tara has also discovered this for herself. 

I began to understand that life isn’t always fun. I have redefined what 
is fun and not fun and realized that those ideas are generally false. A 
lot of what I thought was not fun, like washing the dishes, is actually 
just fine and is really no different or any worse from other activities I 
thought of as fun. 


Certainly there is nothing wrong with thinking about the future, 
but with Sevens, it is the primary way that they lose their connection 
with Presence. The most challenging part of the transformative process 
for Sevens involves their ability to stay in contact with present reality. 
This is difficult because staying more awake and present eventually 
brings into consciousness the very pain and deprivation that Sevens 
have been fleeing. At such times, Sevens might well remember that the 
suffering they truly fear has already occurred—and they survived. With 
the support of Presence, then, Sevens are able to be with their pain long 
enough to really metabolize it. Grieving, like any organic process, has 
a cycle and requires a definite period of time—it cannot be rushed. 
Further, if we cannot be with our pain, we cannot be with our joy. 

When this work has been done, high-functioning Sevens have the 
ability to be satisfied with very little because they realize there will al¬ 
ways be enough for them and for everyone else. Perhaps their greatest 
gift is their ability to see the spiritual in the material world —to perceive 
the Divine in the ordinary. 

Jessie, the therapist we met earlier, shares a moment in which this 
ability served her well. 


“Gratitude unlocks the fullness 
of life.” 


Melody Beattie 


When my stepson was dying of AIDS, I held hinri in my arms and 
asked myself. What is the best option right now? What is the most 
wonderful thing he can experience in this moment? So I guided him 
toward the peace and comfort of the other side. Gregory was able 
to gently release the physical aspect of his life, to feel that his life was 
done, and to actually choose the moment of his last breath. 
Everything was complete and perfect, and we were with him. 


THE EMERGENCE OF ESSENCE 

The Hindus say that God created the universe as a dance so that 
He could enjoy the pleasure of His own creation reflecting back to 
Himself. It is this feeling of wonder and awe at the beauty of life that 
fully infuses Sevens. 

From this Essential point of view, the Seven personifies the quality of 



, : W«- 


2 8 6 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


"The fullness of joy is to be¬ 
hold God in everything." 

Julian of Norwich 


joy, the final state that human beings were meant to be in. Joy is a natural 
experience that arises spontaneously when we experience ourselves as 
Being—when we are free of the endless chatter, planning, and projects of 
our ego minds. In the Christian view, human beings were created to go 
to Heaven and to enjoy the Beatific Vision—to spend all eternity con¬ 
templating God in utter and complete bliss. Thus, ecstasy is our final and 
rightful state. When Sevens remember this truth, they are drawn back to 
joy as their essential state, and they embody it and spread it to others. 

Jessie continues: 


I have learned to recenter myself through quiet times of contempla¬ 
tion and reflection. I have discovered another whole world inside of 
myself.The spirit that is me is free, and I have found so much to feast 
on. My inner world transcends my outer doings, but it also spills out 
and colors all of it.The joy sometimes just bubbles up and life is a de¬ 
light. I find that I do not need a lot, yet my life is filled. At my best, I 
am overcome with awe and gratitude. I live in the moment and trust 
that all of my needs will be met 

Above all, Sevens realize on the most profound level of their con¬ 
sciousness that life really is a gift. One of the big lessons that the Seven of¬ 
fers is that there is nothing wrong with life, nothing wrong with the 
material world. It is the gift of the Creator. If we were not to take anything 
for granted, we would be flooded with joy and gratitude all the time. 
When we have no claims on life, everything becomes a Divine gift capa¬ 
ble of sweeping us into ecstasy. Of all the types, this is the struggle of the 
Seven—to remember the real source of joy and to live out of that truth. 


-.' Add. your scores 
• for . the; fifteen 
statements for 

t^Type Seven. Tour 
result/will; be be- 
Tjftween/15 arid 75. 
7 The;/. /.’fcTlowing 
guidelines/T may 
help - you/discover 
i or confirm your 
5 personauty:.type.:- 


► 15 You are probably not an assertive type 

(not a Three, Seven, or Eight). 

► 15-30 You are probably not a Type Seven. 

► 30-45 You most probably have Seven-issues 

or a Seven parent. 

► 45-60 You most likely have a Seven-component. 

► 60-75 You are most likely a Seven (but could 

still be another type if you are thinking 
too narrowly about Type Seven). 


Sevens are most 
likely to 
misidentify 
themselves as 
Twos, Fours, and 
Threes. Nines, 
Threes, and Twos 
are most likely 
to misidetitijy 
themselves as 
Sevens. 




CHAPTER 14 


TYPE EIGHT: 

THE 

CHALLENGER 


“From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved rather than 
feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we 
should wish to be both: but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if 
we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. ’’ 

—NiccolO Machiavelli, The Prince 


“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it. ” 

—Douglas MacArthur 


“Power doesn't have to show off. Power is confident, self assuring, self start¬ 
ing and self-stopping, self-warming and self justifying. When you have it, 
you know it. ” 

—Ralph Ellison 


“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, 
aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. ” 

—Martin Luther King, Jr. 



THE LEADER 


THE PROTECTOR 


THE PROVIDER 


THE ENTREPRENEUR 


THE MAVERICK 


THE ROCK 




Score each of the follow¬ 
ing statements according 
to how true or applicable 
to you it is on the follow¬ 
ing scale: 

1 . Not at All True 

2 . Seldom True 

3 . Somewhat True 

4 . Generally True 

5 . Very True 


See page 313 for 
scoring key. 


1. Iam extremely independent and don’t like having to rely on 
others for what 1 really need. 

2. I feel that “you have to break some eggs to make an omelet.” 

3. When 1 care about people, I often begin to think of them as 
“my people” and feel like I need to watch out for their in- 


_ 4. I know how to get results: I know how to reward people and 

how to put pressure on them to get things done. 

_ 5. I do not have much sympathy for those who are weak and 

vacillating—weakness just invites trouble. 

_ 6. I am strong-willed and do not give up or back down easily. 

_ 7. 1 am never prouder than when I see someone I’ve taken 

under my wing make it on their own. 

_ 8. I have a tender, even somewhat sentimental side that I show 

to very few people. 

_ 9. People who know me appreciate the fact that I talk straight 

to them and tell them exactly what’s on my mind. 

_10. I’ve had to work hard for everything I have—I think strug¬ 
gle is good because it toughens you up and makes you clear 
about what you want. 

_11. I see myself as a challenger, as someone who pushes people 

beyond their comfort zone to achieve their best. 

_12. My sense of humor is earthy, sometimes even crude, al¬ 
though I think most people are too prissy and thin-skinned. 

_13. 1 can get into a towering rage, but it blows over. 

_14. I feel most alive when I do what others think is impossible: 

I like to go to the edge and see if I can beat the odds. 

_15. Somebody usually has to come up on the short end of the 

stick, and I don’t want it to be me. 








TYPE 


EIGHT: THE 


CHALLENGER 


2 8 9 


PERSONALITY TYPE EIGHT: THE CHALLENGER 


The Powerful, Dominating Type: 

Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational 

We have named personality type Eight the Challenger because, of 
all the types, Eights enjoy taking on challenges themselves as well as 
giving others opportunities that challenge them to exceed themselves in 
some way. They are charismatic and have the physical and psychologi¬ 
cal capacities to persuade others to follow them into all kinds of en¬ 
deavors—from starting a company, to rebuilding a city, to running a 
household, to waging war, to making peace. 

Eights have enormous willpower and vitality, and they feel most 
alive when they are exercising these capacities in the world. They use 
their abundant energy to effect changes in their environment—to leave 
their mark on it—but also to keep the environment, and especially 
other people, from hurting them and those they care about. At an early 
age, Eights understand that this requires strength, will, persistence, and 
endurance—qualities that they develop in themselves and that they 
look for in others. 

Thayer is a stockbroker who has worked intensively on under¬ 
standing her Type Eight personality. She recounts a childhood incident 
in which she could clearly see the development of this pattern. 

Much of my tenacity and toughness comes from my dad. He always 
told me not to' let anybody push me around. It was not okay to cry. 

I learned to master my weaker side early on. At the tender age of 
eight, a huge horse ran away with me. When an adult caught the 
horse, I resolutely dismounted without a tear. I could tell my father 
was proud. 

Eights do not want to be controlled or to allow others to have 
power over them (their Basic Fear), whether the power is psychologi¬ 
cal, sexual, social, or financial. Much of their behavior is involved with 
making sure that they retain and increase whatever power they have for 
as long as possible. An Eight may be a general or a gardener, a small 
businessman or a mogul, the mother of a family or the superior of a re¬ 
ligious community. No matter: being in charge and leaving their im¬ 
print on their sphere is uniquely characteristic of them. 

Eights are the true “rugged individualists” of the Enneagram. More 
than any other type, they stand alone. They want to be independent 
and resist being indebted to anyone. They often refuse to give in to 


► BASIC FEAR: Of being 
harmed or controlled by 
others, of violation 

► BASIC DESIRE: To pro¬ 
tect themselves, to deter¬ 
mine their own course 
in life 

► SUPEREGO MESSAGE: 
“You are good or okay if 
you are strong and in 
control of your situa¬ 
tion.” 


“We either make ourselves 
miserable, or we make ourselves 
strong.The amount of work is the 
same.” 


Carlos Casteneda 



2 9 0 


THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 


social convention, and they can defy fear, shame, and concern about 
the consequences of their actions. Although they are usually aware of 
what people think of them, they do not let the opinions of others sway 
them. They go about their business with a steely determination that 
can be awe-inspiring, even intimidating to others. 

Although, to some extent, Eights fear physical harm, far more impor¬ 
tant is their fear of being disempowered or controlled in some way. Eights 
“I am the master of my are extraordinarily tough and can absorb a great deal of physical punish- 

fate. ” ment without complaint—a double-edged blessing since they often take 

their health and stamina for granted and overlook the health and well¬ 
being of others as well. Yet they are desperately afraid of being hurt emo¬ 
tionally and will use their physical strength to protect their feelings and 
keep others at a safe emotional distance. Beneath the tough facade is vul¬ 
nerability, although it has been covered over by a layer of emotional armor. 

Thus, Eights are often extremely industrious, but at the price of 
losing emotional contact with many of the people in their lives. Those 
close to them may become increasingly dissatisfied with this state of af¬ 
fairs, which confounds Eights. (“1 don’t understand what my family is 
complaining about. I bust my hump to provide for them. Why are they 
disappointed in me?”) 

When this happens, Eights feel misunderstood and may distance 
themselves further. In fact, beneath their imposing exterior, Eights 
often feel hurt and rejected, although this is something they seldom 
talk about because they have trouble admitting their vulnerability to 
themselves, let alone to anyone else. Because they fear that they will be 
rejected (divorced, humiliated, criticized, fired, or harmed in some 
way), Eights attempt to defend themselves by rejecting others first. The 
result is that average Eights become blocked in their ability to connect 
with people or to love since love gives the other power over them, 
reawakening their Basic Fear. 

The more Eights build up their egos in order to protect themselves, 
the more sensitive they become to any real or imaginary slight to their 
self-respect, authority, or preeminence. The more they attempt to make 
themselves impervious to hurt or pain (whether physical or emotional), 
the more they shut down emotionally to become hardened and rock¬ 
like. 

When Eights are emotionally healthy, however, they have a re¬ 
sourceful, can-do attitude as well as a steady inner drive. They take the 
initiative and make things happen with a great passion for life. They are 
honorable and authoritative—natural leaders who have a solid, com¬ 
manding presence. Their groundedness gives them abundant common 
sense as well as the ability to be decisive. Eights are willing to take the 
heat, knowing that any decision cannot please everyone. But as much 
as possible, they want to look after the interests of the people in their 



TYPE EIGHT: THE CHALLENGER 

charge without playing favorites. They use their talents and fortitude to 
construct a better world for everyone in their lives. 


THE CHILDHOOD PATTERN 

Most Eights have told us that they felt that they had to become 
“adults" at an early age, perhaps to help bring in money to raise the 
other children in the family because of an absent father or some other 
calamity. They may have had to deal with a dangerous environment 
(such as drug dealers, or street gangs, or some kind of war zone), or 
with an erratic or violent adult in their home. Other Eights grow up in 
fairly normal families but may have felt the need to protect their feel¬ 
ings for other reasons. In short, Eights tend to grow up quickly, and 
survival issues are foremost to them, as if they were asking, “How can 
I—and the few people I care about—survive in a cruel, uncaring 
world?” 

Roseann is an Eight who recalls the enormous pressure created by 
her childhood situation. 

Being tough with my tough father set up a relationship with my 
mother as I got older. She would often ask me to go to my father 
with a request regarding a family outing, a movie—stuff like that.“You 
ask him,” she’d say.'lf I suggest it, he'll say no.” On the one hand, this 
made me feel proud that she thought I was strong and tough enough 
to deal with him. But on the other hand, I resented it because even 
though my father and I seemed to be respectful of each others tem¬ 
per, I was always afraid of him. I was just a little girl, after all. I just 
knew that I couldn’t show it or ever admit it. 

Young Eights soon get the idea that it is not safe to be gentle or giv¬ 
ing. These attitudes feel “soft” and “weak” and in their minds only in¬ 
vite rejection, betrayal, and pain. They feel that it is best not to let 
down their guard, so if there is going to be any nurturing or warmth in 
their lives, someone else will have to provide it. 

Eights often report that as children, they struggled with powerful 
feelings of having been rejected or betrayed. They were typically as¬ 
sertive and adventuresome and got into “situations” that led to being 
punished frequently. Rather than detach or withdraw from their pun¬ 
ishers, young Eights defended themselves against the feeling of rejec¬ 
tion with the attitude, “To hell with them. Who needs them? No one 
tells me what to do!” Of course, like anyone else, Eights want to be 
loved, but the more they felt rejected and treated like misfits, the more 
they hardened their hearts. 


Please note that the child¬ 
hood pattern we are de¬ 
scribing here does not 
cause the personality type. 
Rather, it describes ten¬ 
dencies that we observe in 
early childhood that have 
a major impact on the 
type’s adult relationships. 




2 9 2 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Arlene is a member of a religious order, and has been a constant 
source of strength and support for those in her community. She recalls 
an unhappy early event that brought out her Eight defense. 

When I was two and a half years old, my younger sister was born. My 
mother was in bed nursing her, and I kept crawling into bed to be 
with my mother. She told me several times to stay with my aunt who 
would put me on her lap. My mother was concerned that I would 
hurt the baby. But I was persistent and kept crawling off my aunt’s lap 
and getting back into the bed with my mother. My mother finally just 
pushed me off the bed, and when that happened, I think my feelings 
said, “I’ll get even!" Later, when I was somewhat older, I determined 
that I would leave home for the convent after eighth grade, even 
though this deeply hurt my folks. But I didn’t consider my parents’ 
wishes and just did it anyway. 

Young Eights may learn to play the role of the Scapegoat (the Black 
Sheep or Problem Child). In family systems theory, “scapegoats” typi¬ 
cally make explicit the hidden problems in a family, through either 
word or deed. As adults, Eights become mavericks, rebelling against re¬ 
straints and bucking the system wherever possible. 

Sometimes the “decision” to steel themselves came when’the child 
felt betrayed by a parent or another significant adult. The child may have 
been abandoned by the parents in a boarding school, or left with rela¬ 
tives, or had their savings or some other valuable taken from them un¬ 
fairly. They may also have been the victims of physical or sexual abuse. 
But because of the gross imbalance of power between young Eights and 
those who treated them unfairly, they could do little or nothing about 
it except to make the decision never to allow this to happen to them 
again. 

Kit is an accomplished entrepreneur in the fashion industry. Here 
she recounts a momentous decision she made as a young, girl. 

The sudden death of my black nanny when I was seven was an im¬ 
portant turning point for me. She was secretly supportive of me and 
would comfort me in different ways when I was punished by my par¬ 
ents. But when she died unexpectedly, I felt truly alone. I was furious 
at my parents for not allowing me to attend her funeral, angry at my 
brothers for their apparent indifference, and irate at my nanny for 
leaving me.Yet I never shed a tear. I decided that I was truly on my 
own, and that I didn’t need anyone. 

Eights consider betrayal to be a pivotal point in their lives because 
it marked the death of their innocence and goodness. When their inner 



TYPE EIGHT: THE CHALLENGER 

core was betrayed by someone important, Eights decided that they 
would never allow themselves to be vulnerable or innocent again. They 
would never allow themselves to drop their guard. For a time, Eights 
may secretly grieve their lost innocence, but eventually they accept this 
as the way they must be to meet life’s challenges. If they have come 
from backgrounds that were remorselessly threatening, Eights tend to 
become as remorseless to themselves as they are to others. Once the 
heart has been buried, even grief over lost innocence can be forgotten. 


THE EIGHT WITH A SEVEN-WING: 

THE INDEPENDENT 

Healthy Having a quick mind combined with a vision for prac¬ 
tical possibilities, people of this subtype are often charismatic and able 
to attract the support of others to join them in their vision. They are 
action-oriented, and want to have an impact on their world. They are 
also good at challenging others to stretch their abilities and to surpass 
their own expectations so that their lives can be better in some practi¬ 
cal way. This is the most independent subtype, often entrepreneurial, 
and interested in creating projects that will ensure their independence. 

Average People of this subtype are adventurous risk-takers; they 
tend to have “big plans” and, in order to enlist the cooperation of oth¬ 
ers, to make big promises and exaggerate the potential of their ventures. 
They are also one of the most sociable types, talkative and outgoing, 
with.great self-confidence. They are pragmatic, practical, and compet¬ 
itive and are not overly concerned with pleasing others or with putting 
up with what they perceive as weakness or inefficiency. They can be¬ 
come impatient, impulsive, and more likely to be led by their feelings 
than the other subtype. They are more openly aggressive and con¬ 
frontational and less likely to back down from a fight. 


THE EIGHT WITH A NINE-WING: THE BEAR 

Healthy People of this subtype combine strength, self- 
confidence, and determination with quiet groundedness and a certain 
laid-back quality. They are noticeably steadier in the pursuit of their 
aims and are not as openly aggressive or as easily perturbed as other 
Eights. They are also warmer and more family-oriented, asserting 
power and leadership through protectiveness. There is less of a 
“wheeler-dealer” quality in their makeup: while they also want to be in¬ 
dependent, they want to do so at their own pace. The ability to reas¬ 
sure and calm others enhances their capacity for leadership. 


THE WING 
SUBTYPES 

▲ 


Examples 

Franklin D. Roosevelt 
Mikhail Gorbachev 
Donald Trump 
Barbara Walters 
Don Imus 
Frank Sinatra 
Courtney Love 
Susan Sarandon 
Bette Davis 
Joan Crawford 



2 9 4 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Examples 

Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Golda Meir 
Toni Morrison 
John Wayne 
Sean Connery 
Sigourney Weaver 
Paul Newman 
Indira Gandhi 
Glenn Close 
Norman Mailer 


Average These people seem to have a dual nature, manifesting 
themselves differently in different areas of their lives. For instance, they 
can be warm and affectionate at home but highly determined and ag¬ 
gressive at work. People of this subtype generally like to live quietly and 
unobtrusively, preferring to control their affairs from behind the 
scenes. They also tend to speak slowly and to be highly attuned to the 
nonverbal cues and body language of others—friendly while secretly 
sizing people up. Strategic and watchful, they almost dare others to 
underestimate them. Eights of this subtype can be stubborn, impassive, 
and quietly menacing. When they lose their tempers, the explosion 
comes suddenly and violently, and then is gone. 


THE 

INSTINCTUAL 

VARIANTS 


THE SELF-PRESERVATION INSTINCT IN THE EIGHT 

The Survivor. In the average range, Self-Preservation Eights are 
the most no-nonsense kind of Eights. They focus intently on practical 
matters and on “bringing home the bacon” so that they will have 
enough money and power to ensure their well-being as well as that of 
their loved ones. They are the most domestic Eights, enjoying the pri¬ 
vacy of their homes; but whether male or female, they definitely insist 
on ruling the roost. Self-Preservation Eights tend to be more material¬ 
istic than the other two Instinctual Variants, wanting money for the 
power it gives but also looking to acquire prized possessions (such as 
cars or homes) as symbols of their impact and importance. They are the 
most prone to workaholism and may work several jobs or unusually 
long hours to earn enough income to feel satisfied and protected. 

Self-Preservation Eights tend to worry about protecting their pos¬ 
sessions and investments. Indeed, even within their homes, they can be 
extremely territorial about their personal belongings. (“No one goes 
into the garage without my permission!”) It makes them feel secure if 
they have a clear idea of where their possessions are and that they are 
safe. Thus, they are constantly checking to ensure that their finances, 
personal and professional position, and belongings are not threatened 
in any way. 

In the unhealthy range, Self-Preservation Eights can become bul¬ 
lies and thieves, justifying their destructive behavior by the belief that 
they are “toughening up” others. After all, it is a jungle out there. At 
the very least, they often feel justified acting selfishly, going after their 
needs—often financial and sexual—without regard for consequences 
or for others’ feelings. They do not hesitate to undermine or attack oth¬ 
ers to protect their interests and to make sure that no one has the abil¬ 
ity to threaten their material security. 



TYPE 


EIGHT: THE 


CHALLENGER 


2 9 5 


THE SOCIAL INSTINCT IN THE EIGHT 

Gusto and Camaraderie. In the average range, Social Eights ex¬ 
press their intensity through the powerful bonds that they make with 
others. Honor and trust are big issues for them, and they enjoy making 
pacts with those who have proven themselves trustworthy. They will 
test the people they care about so that friendships feel solid and safe. 
Feelings of social awkwardness or rejection are eased by surrounding 
themselves with friends who are predictable and who accept them as 
they are. (Not everyone will be let into their inner circle, but for those 
who pass the test by demonstrating loyalty and solidity, the sky is the 
limit.) Having a night out, going on a big weekend jaunt, or holding 
court with the inner circle are Social Eight ways of relaxing, and Social 
Eights will do anything for the few that they care about. They enjoy 
hosting social events, wining and dining their friends, and sharing ad¬ 
ventures with “real people.” They also enjoy debates about politics, 
sports, or religion—the more heated, the better. 

Lower in the Levels, Social Eights may take friends for granted or 
reject them over a disagreement. They can easily feel betrayed and tend 
to hold grudges longer than most. Once someone has been exiled from 
the inner circle, Eights arc extremely reluctant to let the person near 
them again. Also, their penchant for storytelling can degenerate into 
gross exaggeration and “snowing” people. They become charming 
rogues and con artists, full of promises but offering little real support 
for others. 

In the unhealthy range, due to feelings of rejection and betrayal, 
Social Eights can become extremely antisocial loners. They are often 
reckless and self-destructive and are particularly prone to substance 
abuse. The combination of intoxication and rage can rapidly destroy 
much of the good in their lives. In this state. Social Eights are gener¬ 
ally unable to comprehend the damage they are doing to themselves 
or others. 

THE SEXUAL INSTINCT IN THE EIGHT 

Taking Charge. In the average range, Sexual Eights are the most 
quietly intense and charismatic kind of Eights. They are passionate 
about whomever they care about and want to feel that they have had 
a major impact on the lives of those in their sphere of influence. 
(This can be a positive or negative impact, of course, depending on 
the Level of Development.) Like Social Eights, they enjoy rabble- 
rousing good times, although there is more of a rebellious streak in 
Sexual Eights. They have a sly sense of humor and enjoy being “bad.” 
Sexual Eights can be deeply loving and devoted, but they can also see 





Key Terms: 

Eights let go of the belief that they must always be in control of their en¬ 


Level 

Self- 

vironment, which allows them to let down their guard and heal their 

H 

1 

Surrendering 

hearts. They also paradoxically achieve their Basic Desire — the desire to 

E 


Heroic 

protect themselves, and become magnanimous, self-surrendering, coura¬ 

A 



geous, forgiving, and sometimes heroic. 

M 

Level 


Eights use their energy and willpower to become independent and in con¬ 

L 

2 

oelj-Kelutnt 

\ « J fir 

trol of their lives. They are vigorous and action-oriented. Self-image: “I am 

T 


vJt TUI IV 

assertive, direct, and resourceful.” 

H 



Eights reinforce their self-image by taking on challenges. They prove their 


Level 

Self-Confident 

strength through action and achievement, through protecting others and 

Y 

3 

Leading 

providing for them, and through bringing out others’ strengths. They are 




strategic and decisive and enjoy realizing constructive projects. 


' 


Eights begin to fear that they do not have enough resources to succeed with 


Level 

Pragmatic 

their projects or to carry out their role as provider. Thus, they become more 

A 

4 

Enterprising 

shrewd and expedient about getting the resources they want. Businesslike 

V 



and competitive, they are more guarded about their feelings. 

E 



Eights worry that others will not respect them or give them their due, so 


Level 

Self Glorifying 

they try to convince others of their importance. They boast, bluff, and 

R 

5 

Dominating 

make big promises to get people aligned with their plans. Willful and 

A 



proud, they want others to know that they are in charge. 

r 



Eights are afraid that others are not backing them up, and they may lose 

o 

Level 

Confron¬ 

control of their situation as a result. They try to pressure others to do what 

E 

6 

tational 

they want through threats and oppression. They are also bad-tempered and 



Intimidating 

defiant of any demands placed on them, pushing others to the limit. 

. 

1 



' 

Eights fear that others are turning against them, and this may be true. They 

u 

Level 

Ruthless 

feel betrayed and unable to trust anyone, so they become determined to 


7 

Dictatorial 

protect themselves at any cost. Seeing themselves as outlaws, they feel they 

N 



are beyond the pale of society and can be predatory, vengeful, and violent. 

H 



Eights become so desperate to protect themselves and so fearful of retalia¬ 

£. 



tion for their actions that they begin to attack potential rivals before they 


Level 

i rjcvMn/ 

maniacal 

can threaten them. They respect no boundaries, and rapidly overreach 

A 

8 

Terrorizing 

themselves. Delusions of invulnerability lead them to endanger themselves 

L 



and others. 

-I- 



The realization that they have created powerful enemies who are capable of 

T 



defeating them is too much for unhealthy Eights. They try to destroy every¬ 

H 

Level 

Sociopatbic 

thing rather than let anyone triumph over them or control them. They can 


9 

Destructive 

go on rampages, remorselessly ruining everything in their path, possibly 

Y 



murdering others in the process. 


T 

Y 

P 

E 

8 


L 

E 

V 
E 
L 
S 

O 

F 

D 

E 

V 
E 
L 
O 
P 
M 
E 
N 
T 






TYPE EIGHT: THE CHALLENGER 

intimacy as a struggle for control or an opportunity to build their 
self-esteem. They can play rough with intimates, are stimulated by a 
good argument, and can be impatient with niceness. Like the Self- 
Preservation Eights, they can be competitive, but more for the thrill 
of competition and less for security reasons. In fact, Sexual Eights 
lose interest if they win too easily, and this extends into their intimate 
relationships as well. 

Lower in the Levels, they demand loyalty, consistency, and atten¬ 
tion and have little tolerance for wandering interests in the other. In 
fact, they see themselves in a parental, mentoring role and want to re¬ 
mold people into shapes that better fit their needs and plans. They have 
an opinion about every aspect of the others life. Needless to say, this 
makes it difficult for them to maintain a relationship of equality. 

In the unhealthy range, Sexual Eights can attempt to completely 
control and dominate their partner. They are extremely jealous, seeing 
the other as a possession, and may seek to isolate their significant other 
from friends or other contacts. In worst-case scenarios, spouse abuse, 
impulsive acts of revenge, and crimes of passion are possible. 

Most Eights will encounter the following issues at some point 
in their lives. Noticing these patterns, “catching ourselves in the 
act,” and simply seeing our underlying habitual responses to life 
will do much to release us from the negative aspects of our type. 

THE WAKE-UP CALL FOR TYPE EIGHT: 

STRUGGLING FOR SELF-SUFFICIENCY 

Eights feel they need to protect themselves—which can become a 
fear of dependency of any kind. (“I do not feel safe, so I need to 
toughen myself and get more resources to protect myself.”) Because 
Eights do not feel that they can look to others for support or help with¬ 
out losing their autonomy, they tend to feel at war with the world. 
Everything in life is difficult, a struggle, and Eights are constantly 
straining to assert themselves against what they see as an uncooperative 
or even hostile environment. (“I have had to fight for everything I 
have.” “You’ve got to be tough or they’ll eat you alive.”) 

Eights generally do not like working under others, preferring in¬ 
stead the risk and adventure of running their own activities. Many 
Eights are enterprising “wheeler-dealers” who are always thinking of 
getting a new project under way. They can also be openly competi¬ 
tive—not to fed superior but to ensure that they have the resources 
they need to maintain their well-being and security. As long as Eights 
feel that they are in control of their situation, they are able to relax. 


THE EIGHT’S 
CHALLENGES TO 
GROWTH 



2 9 8 


THE WISDOM 


O F 


THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Of course, no one in life is truly self-sufficient. Everyone, includ¬ 
ing Eights, needs others to help them and support them and accom¬ 
plish common goals. If Eights were to examine their lives objectively, 
they would see that, in fact, they are actually dependent on many peo¬ 
ple to fulfill their vision and accomplish their goals. Yet because of their 
fear of dependency and betrayal, Eights do not want to acknowledge 
this or share the glory with others. They persuade themselves that they 
alone are working hard and that they must pressure others to follow 
their lead. 

If this viewpoint becomes habitual, and if they ignore their Wake- 
up Call, Eights are in danger of becoming trapped more narrowly in 
their fixation. When Eights find themselves feeling that others have to 
be controlled and life conquered, they are going in the wrong direction. 
This can manifest in attitudes at work, in conflicts with loved ones— 
or simply in swearing at a jar of peanut butter that will not open. 


PUSHING AGAINST THE WORLD 


Begin to notice when you are using more energy than is necessary for any task or activity. When you are 
opening a door or holding something, notice how tightly you grip it.When you work, sweeping or scrubbing 
or using tools, could you use less force and still be effective? When you are speaking to someone, listen to 
your voice. What is the exact economical amount of energy you need to express what you want to say? 


The Social Role: The Rock 

Average Eights start to see themselves as the Rock, the strong and 
impregnable one, the foundation for others in their family or profes¬ 
sional circle. (“I’m tough. I’m the one everyone else has to depend on.”) 
Consciously or unconsciously identifying themselves with the strength 
and immovability of a rock has benefits, reinforcing their self-confi¬ 
dence and can-do spirit, but it also means that Eights must suppress 
their weaknesses, self-doubts, and fears. Also, like other types, average 
Eights begin to be uncomfortable around others unless they interact 
from their Social Role. 

If they are like a rock, Eights believe that they will be able to de¬ 
fend themselves and avoid being hurt. Unfortunately, being like a rock 
makes them defend against many of the good things that come into 
their lives—caring, intimacy, gentleness, and self-sacrifice. They must 
be stony and unmoved by difficulties and suffering, either in others or 
in themselves. 

Arlene, whom we met earlier, sees this simply as a matter of fact. 







TYPE 


EIGHT: THE 


CHALLENGER 


2 9 9 


I’m a gut person. It takes a while for my head to catch up. I live a lot 
in the future. I can also deny or obliterate feelings very easily and just 
go on with life when loss happens. 

The more threatened or stressed Eights are, the more tough and ag¬ 
gressive they become. Lower-average Eights feel entirely justified in 
taking a hard line with others, as if declaring, “Deal with me!” They see 
themselves as someone who is just trying to survive in a tough, cold 
world. 

Kit recalls the difficulty that this created for her in her childhood. 

It wasn’t that I wanted to disobey. I would have liked to have been a 
“good girl,” or at least an acceptable one. But I was impulsive, driven 
to prevail at all costs, and compelled to follow my heart and stand up 
for myself and my beliefs. I regularly told off my parents and was con¬ 
sidered rather sassy and impudent. As a child, I was bewildered to 
see that my intentions were misunderstood and viewed negatively. So 
very early I began to cut off my feelings and pretend as though I didn't 
care. 


RECOVERING INTIMACY 


Identify at least one area in your life—a relationship, a place, a time—in which you do not feel the need 
to be tough. Observe yourself in this setting or with this particular person. How does it feel? How is it dif¬ 
ferent from other areas of your life? 


Lust and “Intensity” 

Eights want to feel strong and autonomous; simply put, they want 
to feel solid and alive. Thus, the traditional Passion of lust (their “Capital 
Sin”) compels them to act in ways that stimulate feelings of aliveness, 
leading them to live intensely. Interactions with others must be intense, 
work must be intense, and play must be intense, as if Eights had to 
constantly push against life. 

But to the extent that they succumb to the Passion of lust, Eights 
become trapped in a pattern of asserting their will against the environ¬ 
ment (including other people) to gain the intensity they crave, 
(ronically, the more they push themselves, the less energy they have to 
connect either with themselves or with anyone else. Ultimately, the 
more they push, the less real sense of being they have. They—and oth¬ 
ers-—-become ciphers, objects in the environment to be manipulated. 
The result is actually an inner deadening that then tempts them to 





3 0 0 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


make even greater exertions to overcome it. Intensity only begets the 
need for more intensity. 

There is also something of the daredevil in average Eights. They 
may not be race-car drivers or big-game hunters, but all Eights get 
hooked on the intensity and adrenaline rush of taking on a challenge 
and beating the odds. This can be exciting, but over time, it can also be 
exhausting and eventually wears down their health. For some Eights, 
the risk might simply be ignoring warnings about bad eating habits, 
cigarettes, or alcohol. (“It won’t happen to me. I’m too strong to be af¬ 
fected by this stuff.”) Prevailing becomes an addiction for Eights—the 
more often they win, the more this builds up a false sense of invulner¬ 
ability that can lead them to make tragic miscalculations. 

A further irony arises with lust in relation to control. As we have 
seen, Eights want to feel that they are in control of their situation. But 
being in the grip of lust is the antithesis of control: lust is a reaction to 
something outside the self that inspires it. To lust after a person or an 
object is to be under its power, whether it is lust for money, a sexual 
partner, or power. As with all the types, the Passion is a distortion that 
ultimately brings the opposite of what the type truly wants. 


GETTING WORKED UP 


Part of the reason you like to get into competitions and take risks is because of the sense of aliveness 
you get from these activities. How is this different from the sense of aliveness you get from relaxing? Can 
you consciously relax more right now? What does this do to your sense of yourself? 


The Price of Running Things 

Being practical-minded people, average Eights usually have some 
kind of dream for themselves, usually involving a money-making 
scheme, a business venture, or the stock market. This can be as com¬ 
plex as starting and running their own business, or as simple as playing 
the state lottery on a regular basis. Not all Eights have a lot of money, 
but most are looking for some kind of “big break” that would give 
them the independence, respect, and bargaining power that they typi¬ 
cally want. 

Ed, a therapist, recalls how his entrepreneurial spirit developed at a 
tender age. 

When I was five years old, I remember going to a nearby vacant lot 

and gathering some seeds from the weeds. I then went to our land- 







TYPE 


EIGHT: THE 


CHALLENGER 


3 0 I 


lady who lived across the street and told her that they were great 
birdseed. I sold her the seeds for five cents. I took the money and 
went to the local deli and bought two cupcakes. I then went to a local 
tennis court and sold the cupcakes for a nickel apiece. I returned to 
the deli with my dime and bought four cupcakes.There the tale ends, 
for when I went back to the tennis court, the man behind the snack 
counter yelled at me and threw me out. 

“I’ve got to bring home 

To the extent that Eights fear depending on others, they want to the bacon. ” 

make sure that they are in charge. While they have the satisfaction of 
being in control, they put a heavy burden on themselves to run every¬ 
thing. If they are parents, they focus on practical survival issues such as 
making sure that their children have food, shelter, and decent clothes 
and are getting a good education. If they have more money, they may 
feel that it is their place to provide cars and houses for their children 
and to set them up in a well-paying job or career. (“The old man will 
take care of everything.”) They expend a lot of energy, having the vi¬ 
sion, taking initiatives, constantly making all the decisions, and prod¬ 
ding others to implement them. Eights constantly radiate a kind of 
force field around themselves that can be energizing and protective for 
some, intimidating to others, and a subtle but real drain on the Eights 
themselves. 

Intimacy therefore becomes a problem even for average Eights. 

They would often like to be close to people and to express the strong 
feelings they have, but do not know how to relax their defenses, espe¬ 
cially their need for control. Given their inability to sustain more direct 
emotional contact, Eights begin to connect with others through com¬ 
petition, challenge, and physicality. They are stimulated by conflict, 
and this often becomes a source of misunderstanding with others. 

Eights like to get into intense discussions—even arguments—and pas¬ 
sionately push home their point, only to be surprised that others have 
been hurt by their forcefulness. Many Eights express their connection 
with others through sexuality and physical contact. Or they may show 
affection by roughhousing or getting into verbal sparring. 

Average Eights do not want people to know how much stress they 
are under, however. They try to handle all of their problems without 
telling anyone about them or at least not the extent of them. They tend 
to overwork, living on adrenaline and stress, and are unwilling to take 
steps to manage their stress until they are forced to by their deteriorat¬ 
ing health. Constantly expending energy to the point of exhaustion, 

Eights frequently suffer from heart attacks, high blood pressure, 
strokes, and cancer. 



3 0 2 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


DENYING YOUR TENDERNESS 


Eights put themselves under tremendous pressure to provide for others, to be strong for them, to never 
cry, show weakness, doubt, or indecision. 

Explore the various circumstances in which you have put yourself under this kind of pressure.Who were 
you doing it for? Was the outcome worth the effort? What do you think would have happened if you had 
been a little easier on yourself? 


Self-Importance and Being “Larger than Life” 

When average Eights fear that others do not recognize how much 
energy they are expending to “run things,” they put people on notice 
about who is in charge. They let everyone know who is most important 
“You've got to deal with by making a lot of noise—much of it bluster and bravado—like the 

me. ” dominance displays of alpha males in the animal world. Average Eights 

want others to know that they are “big shots” and can get things done. 
(“I know somebody who can really help you out. I’ll talk to her for 
you.”) They may use expressions of apparent generosity to get people to 
cooperate with them, the well-known carrot-and-stick approach. They 
also make deals with people—“You do this for me, and I’ll take care of 
you.” Average Eights would prefer to use persuasion and incentives to 
get people to fall in line with their plans, although if they encounter re¬ 
sistance, they usually try to dominate people more aggressively. 

Having the means to do favors for others becomes essential. 
Without bargaining chips of some kind, average Eights feel that they 
would have to deal with others from a disadvantaged position. Worse, 
they may end up indebted to someone without the means to pay back 
the debt—a situation that could trigger their Basic Fear. 

They also try to keep extending their influence-—in a sense, ex¬ 
panding their ego boundaries. They identify with their projects and 
possessions as extensions of themselves. (“This is mine—my castle, my 
property, my business, my spouse, my children. It all reflects me.”) 
Conceiving projects and seeing them to completion is a way of gaining 
some degree of immortality; it announces to the world, “I have been 
here.” The size of their empire is not as important as the fact that it is 
theirs —and that they are running things. If they are successful finan¬ 
cially, they may have an entourage and travel like royalty, expecting def¬ 
erence, respect, and obedience. When they give an order, they want it 
to be carried out right away and without question. 






TYPE 


EIGHT: THE 


CHALLENGER 


3 0 3 


RETIRING THE BIG SHOT 


You pride yourself on being direct and truthful. How truthful are you being when you are trying to im¬ 
press or overwhelm people? Does getting people “in line” this way make you feel more or less comfortable 
with yourself? Can you think of more effective ways of gaining the support and cooperation of others? 


Self-Assertion Versus Aggression 

Eights like straight talk and become suspicious when others seem 
to be beating around the bush, which is why the communication style 
of some of the other types can be a problem for Eights. They have dif¬ 
ficulty understanding why others are not as forthright as they are. At 
the same time, some other types are confounded by how audacious and 
forceful Eights can be. 

The reason is that Eights need clear boundaries: they want to “What are you made of ?” 

know where they stand with others and, on an instinctive level, where 
they end and where others begin. They want to know what others will 
tolerate and what they will not. Eights discover boundaries by testing 
them. If a person in relationship with an Eight does not react to him 
or her, the Eight will continue pushing the boundaries until they get 
a reaction. Sometimes this can take the form of needling or teasing the 
other. Sometimes the pressure can be sexual, or it may simply be an 
insistence that the other answer the Eight immediately in a conversa¬ 
tion. 

Because of their self-assertion and directness, Eights tend to intim¬ 
idate people. Others often interpret their in-your-face communication 
style as anger or criticism, although Eights say that they are just trying 
to get others’ attention and let others know where they stand. Part of 
the problem is that Eights do not know their own strength. As we have 
seen, they tend to use more energy than is necessary for many of their 
activities. The more insecure Eights are, the more likely they will be to 
aggressively assert themselves, ironically creating more resistance and 
less cooperation in others. 

Arlene comments on her large-scale Eight style: 

I come across as invulnerable, or so I’ve been told. In general, I am 
sure of myself and am willing to take risks quite easily. I’ve “winged” 
it many times without knowing all the details of a situation. Almost 
always, I come out on top and as successful. Inside, however, I do not 
always feel as secure as I come across to other people.This has been 
quite difficult for me since it creates the problem of being a “threat” 
to people. 





3 0 4 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


When Eights feel threatened and insecure, they can become explo¬ 
sive and unpredictable. It is difficult for others around them to know 
what will set them off. It could be something as minor as a meal that is 
not ready on time, or a room that is not organized the way they want 
it, or simply a tone of voice. Fearing that others will defy them or get 
an advantage over them, more troubled Eights begin to impose their 
will indiscriminately. (“Its my way or the highway!” “Do it because / 
said so!”) 

Other typical ways of getting their way without resorting to out¬ 
right aggression include undermining the confidence of others, and the 
strategy of divide and conquer. Eights may also resort to verbal abuse, 
screaming in someone’s face if they are angry or frustrated. Of course, 
if they carry on this way for long, they often cause others to band to¬ 
gether against them—one of the very things Eights most fear. Once 
caught up in their fears of violation and rejection, Eights seem unable 
to discriminate between the people who have actually harmed them in 
the past and the people they are currently dealing with. They feel as 
though others will almost certainly treat them unfairly, and they are de¬ 
termined to use whatever power they have to prevent this. 


FEELING YOUR INSTINCTIVE ENERGY 


The next time you feel reactive in a situation, try a little experiment. Instead of acting on your impulse, 
stop, breathe deeply, and see how the energy of the impulse moves inside you. See if you can follow it. How 
long does it last? Does it change over time? Does paying attention to it bring up other feelings? Take one of 
your hands and gently touch the area where you most feel this energy.What happens? 


Control and Relationships 

Eights’ fears of being controlled are easily triggered; as a result, they 
may feel controlled even when nothing out of the ordinary is being 
asked of them. Not surprisingly, this can create major problems for 
Eights in their careers and in their relationships. For example, they have 
great difficulty taking direction from others, let alone orders. (“No one 
tells me what to do!”) Eights’ primary resource, their abundant energy 
and willpower, often ends up squandered on unnecessary conflicts. 

The more dysfunctional their childhood background, the more 
control Eights will require in order to feel protected. For dysfunctional 
Eights to feel strong and in control of their situation requires more and 
more “proof” that this is so. 

A former airline pilot, Ian, talks candidly about his need for con¬ 
trol of his family, particularly of his wife. 







TYPE 


EIGHT: THE 


CHALLENGER 


3 0 5 


I don’t feel good about this now, but when I was younger, I needed to 
prove to myself that I was the king of the roost in every way. I made 
my sons get up early in the morning like a drill sergeant, and I com¬ 
pletely controlled the finances in the house. My wife had to come to 
me for every nickel, and I made sure that she didn’t have any spend¬ 
ing money of her own so she couldn’t have much freedom to stray. 

If she didn’t have money, she couldn’t leave me. 

Eights’ tendency to struggle for control can escalate into open con¬ 
flict if they feel that others may get an unfair advantage over them. 
They marshal their powerful instinctual energies and steely determina¬ 
tion, effectively drawing lines in the sand and daring others to cross 
them. (“There will be no raise, and if you don’t like it, you can quit 
right now!”) Unfortunately, once Eights have delivered their ultima¬ 
tums, even if they were uttered impulsively, they feel that they must fol¬ 
low through with them. To back down or soften their stance feels like 
weakness—and potential loss of independence and control. 

Left unchecked, the desire for control can cause Eights to see sig¬ 
nificant others as possessions. They begin to view those who depend on 
them as impractical and weak and therefore unworthy of respect or 
equal treatment. Having ignored their own emotional reactions and 
sensitivities, they can ridicule or dismiss others’ pain or emotional 
needs. More troubled Eights are also threatened by subordinates who 
show strength and may attempt to weaken them by undermining their 
confidence, keeping them off balance with arbitrary commands, and 
when all else fails, launching withering verbal attacks. 


WHAT IF SOMEONE DID THIS TO ME? 


“My way or the highway. ” 


Remember an incident in which you pressured someone to do something against his or her will. Can you 
now think of a way in which you could have gotten what you needed or wanted differently? Was what you 
were after legitimate? What would it have been like if the other person had simply given you what you were 
after without your having to pressure them? Similarly, recall times when someone attempted to pressure 
you. How did their methods influence your desire to cooperate with them? 






3 0 6 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


“No one tells me what to 

dor 


Defiance and Rebellion 

As a way of asserting themselves and defying authority, Eights may 
get married young or to a person their family disapproves of, or refuse 
to go to school—or perform any number of other acts of defiance. 
Even as small children, Eights can show remarkable resistance to au¬ 
thority. 

Ed recalls: 

One of my problems as a child was a furious temper. What would 
make me see red was anyone trying to boss me around. I remember 
coming home from school when I was about eight years old and see¬ 
ing some construction in the road. Curious, I walked up to the site. 

A policeman told me to stay away. I said “No way!” He took me 
home to my parents and described me as “the freshest kid I ever 
met." 

More troubled Eights have a chip on their shoulder and tend to 
confront and intimidate others to get their way. Eights may attempt to 
bulldoze people with escalating degrees of intimidation. Expecting re¬ 
jection and noncooperation, they create adversarial relationships even 
with former allies and friends and can inadvertently turn family mem¬ 
bers against them. Eights may then wonder why they are resisted and 
resented. From their point of view, they feel that their actions have 
been largely for the good of others. Others will benefit—eventually. 
Their own feeling of hurt and resentment makes them feel justified in 
further hurting others or bullying them to get cooperation. 

They usually do not want a fight but are willing to take confronta¬ 
tions to the edge to get the other person to back down. Eights threaten 
that there is "worse to come” if the other does not yield. (“You are re¬ 
ally pushing your luck! You do not want to make me mad.”) 

Kit well illustrates the Eight’s strong willpower and spirit of defi¬ 
ance. 

I was usually being punished when the rest of the family had privi¬ 
leges. Determined to win the battle of wills, I endured all punish¬ 
ments, feeling that "No one can make me do anything I do not want 
to do!” I would laugh when I was whipped so as not to show weak¬ 
ness, and I would sit in my room for hours rather than give in. 



TYPE 


EIGHT: THE 


CHALLENGER 


3 0 7 


COSTLY TRIUMPHS 


Many of the Eight’s health and relationship problems have their root in not wanting to back down, give 
in, or appear afraid. In your Inner Work Journal, answer the following questions: 

In what early incidents did you see yourself as refusing to yield or concede to others? Can you remem¬ 
ber any incidents from your school years, and from more recent times? How did these incidents make you 
feel physically? Emotionally? Psychologically? (Be as specific as possible.) What did it take to let you know 
that you had “won" the-contest? What did the other person have to do first? How did this make you feel? 
For how long? 


As pressures build, Eights can only push their particular methods of 
dealing with problems so far. Eventually, their self-assertive, confronta¬ 
tional stance leads them into challenges that feel overwhelming. When 
Eights have bitten off more than they can chew, they may go to Five, ef¬ 
fectively retreating from conflicts to strategize, buy time, and gather their 
strength. 

At such times, Eights may become solitary figures, spending many 
hours brooding, reading, and gathering information so that they can 
better size up the situation. They insist bn having the time and space 
and privacy to sort things out before they are able to jump back into 
action. Like Fives, they can become deeply preoccupied with their 
plans and projects—staying up late working, while avoiding others and 
being secretive about their activities. They can also seem strangely quiet 
and detached, which often comes as a surprise to those who are more 
used to their more assertive, passionate qualities. 

Periods of stress may also cause Eights to become high-strung, like 
average Fives. They tend to minimize their comforts and needs and 
generally take poor care of themselves. Insomnia and unhealthy diets 
are not uncommon. 

Feelings of rejection may also lead Eights into some of the darker 
aspects of Type Five. They can become extremely cynical and con¬ 
temptuous of the beliefs and values of others. Deteriorating Eights may 
become nihilistic outsiders, with little hope of reconnecting with oth¬ 
ers or of finding anything positive in themselves or in the world. 


REACTING TO 
STRESS: 

EIGHT GOES TO 
FIVE 


If Eights have suffered a serious crisis without adequate support or 
coping skills, or if they have suffered from chronic abuse in childhood, 
they may cross the shock point into the unhealthy aspects of their type. 
This may lead them to a fearful recognition that their defiant reactions 
and attempts to control others are actually creating more dangers for 


THE RED FLAG: 
THE EIGHT IN 
TROUBLE 






3 0 8 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


them—they are less safe, not more. Eights may experience this as a fear 
that others, including trusted loved ones, are actually leaving or even 
turning against them. Indeed, some of these fears may be based on fact. 

Coming to these realizations, while terrifying, can be a turning 
point in an Eight’s life. On the one hand, if Eights can recognize the 
truth in these fears, they may begin to turn their life around and move 
toward health and liberation. On the other hand, they may become 
even more belligerent, defiant, and threatening and desperately attempt 
to stay in control at any cost. (“It’s me against the world.” “Nobody 
better even think about messing with me—I’ll smash them!”) If Eights 
persist in this attitude, they may cross into the unhealthy Levels. If you 
or someone you know is exhibiting the following warning signs for an 
extended period of time—more than two or three weeks—getting 
counseling, therapy, or other support is highly advisable. 


WARNING SIGNS 


POTENTIAL PATHOLOGY: 
Antisocial Personality Dis¬ 
order, sadistic behavior, 
physical violence, paranoia, 
social isolation 


► Paranoid feelings of being betrayed by “their people” 

► Increasing social isolation and bitterness 

► Lack of conscience and empathy; callous hard-heartedness 

► Episodes of rage, violence, and physical destructiveness 

► Plotting vengeance and retaliation against “enemies” 

► Seeing self as an “outlaw”; involvement with criminal behavior 

► Episodes of striking back at society (sociopathy) 


PRACTICES THAT 
HELP EIGHTS 
DEVELOP 


► The suggestion to get in touch with your feelings may be some¬ 
thing of a psychological cliche, but in your case, it is a helpful one. No 
one would question an Eight’s passion, and no one knows as much as 
you do how much you secretly want to feel closer to people, but only 
you can learn to allow those feelings to surface. Vulnerability lets others 
know that they matter, that you care about them. No one is suggesting 
that you walk around with your heart on your sleeve, but denying your 
hurt or acting it out is not the solution. 

► Grief work is very helpful for Eights. You are not the kind of 
person to sit around feeling sorry for yourself for long, but if you are 
suffering, it is important to find constructive ways of grieving your 
losses and hurts. That tough shell of yours got there for a reason. 
Maybe it’s time to explore what some of the reasons were. 

► Eights generally have a hearty sense of camaraderie and enjoy 
good times with others, but that is not the same thing as intimacy. Find 





TYPE 


EIGHT: THE 


CHALLENGER 


3 0 9 


people you can really trust, and talk with them about matters that are 
eating at you. If you already have someone like that in your life, dare 
to open up to them more and give them the same opportunity. Don’t 
presume that others do not want to hear about your feelings or your 
troubles. Also, when you are unburdening yourself, listen to what oth¬ 
ers are saying to you. Notice that you are being heard when you are— 
and do the same for others. 

► Take some quiet time to restore your soul. This doesn’t mean 
watching television, eating, or drinking—really take time to be with 
yourself and enjoy simple things. Take a tip from your next-door neigh¬ 
bors, the Nines, and let your senses be revitalized by nature. Although 
your type would not be among the first in line for a class in meditation, 
quiet, centering practices are tremendously helpful to reduce your stress 
levels. 

► Work is important, and your family and friends really do need 
you and appreciate your efforts to support them. At the same time, you 
will not be nearly as helpful to them if you work yourself to death. The 
same is true for immoderation in your “vices.” Eights work hard and 
play hard. A little restraint on the intensity levels in both departments 
can help ensure that you will be around longer to enjoy your life in 
deeper and subtler ways. Question your need for intensity. What does 
it come from? What would happen to you if you or your life were a lit¬ 
tle less driven? 

► Examine your expectations of rejection. Do you notice how 
often you expect people not to like you, or feel that you have to behave 
in ways that will head rejection off at the pass? These feelings underlie 
most of your sense of isolation, and in the long run they are what get 
you so angry. All of us feel deeply angry and even hateful if we sense 
that we have been continually rejected. Perhaps you are sending out sig¬ 
nals that others are reading as a rejection of them, both because of their 
own issues and because of your self-protection. This leads us back to 
the vulnerability issue: the good feelings that you want are only going 
to touch you to the degree that you allow yourself to be affected. 


Eights are people of action and practical intuition. They have vi¬ 
sion and derive great satisfaction from being constructive—both liter¬ 
ally and figuratively. A key element to their leadership is their practical 
creativity. They enjoy building things from the ground floor, trans¬ 
forming unpromising materials into something great. Eights are able to 
see possibilities in people and in situations; they look at a garage full of 
junk and see a potential business. They look at a troubled youth and 
see leadership potential. They like to offer incentives and challenges to 


BUILDING ON 
THE EIGHT’S 
STRENGTHS 



3 I 0 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


bring out peoples strengths. (“If you get straight As, I’ll get you that 
car.’’) In this way, they help others to recognize resources and strengths 
that others did not know they possessed. A key word for Eights, there¬ 
fore, is empowerment. Healthy Eights agree with the saying, “Give a 
person a fish and they eat for a day. But teach them how to fish, and 
they can feed themselves for life.” Eights know this is true because they 
have often taught themselves “how to fish.” 

Honor is also important to healthy Eights: their word is their bond. 
When they say, “You have my word on this,” they mean it. They speak 
directly and without subterfuge. Healthy Eights look for similar quali¬ 
ties in others and feel gratified when people recognize this quality in 
them—although they will not change when others do not appreciate 
their honesty. 

Furthermore, Eights want to be respected, and healthy Eights re¬ 
spect others and the dignity of all creatures. They feel personally hurt 
by any violation of the needs and rights of others, and injustice causes 
“I can look out for you.” healthy Eights to respond viscerally and to take action. They will step 

in and stop a fight to protect the weak or disadvantaged, or to even the 
score for those who they feel have been wronged. Courageous and 
strong but also gentle and humble, they are willing to put themselves 
in jeopardy for the sake of justice and fairness. Very high-functioning 
Eights have the vision, compassion, and strength to be a tremendous 
influence for good in the world. 

Says Roseann, whom we met earlier: 

It feels good to be an Eight, to be strong and in charge of the situa-. 
tion and have others respect me and want me around them. I re¬ 
member feeling pretty good about the time I rushed to a friend’s 
house in response to her call for help in handling an ex-lover who 
was stalking her. “Thank God you're here," she said. “You make me 
feel like the Marines have landed!” 

Control, in a healthy Eight, takes the form of self-mastery. They 
understand that it is actually counterproductive to try to “beat the 
world” every day. On a deeper level, control is not really a healthy 
Eight’s ultimate goal; rather, it is the desire to have a beneficial influ¬ 
ence on people and on their world. Balanced Eights understand that 
this kind of influence comes from true inner strength, not from out¬ 
ward muscle-flexing, forcefulness, or trying to bend things to their will. 
They recognize that controlling situations or people is actually a form 
of imprisonment. Real freedom and independence arise through a 
much more simple and relaxed relationship with their world. 

Finally, healthy Eights are magnanimous or big-hearted, possessing 
a generosity that allows them to transcend their self-interest. They feel 



TYPE EIGHT: THE CHALLENGER 

confident enough to allow themselves some degree of vulnerability, and 
this enables them to experience their concern and caring for people. 
They express this in their protection of others, defending friends from 
schoolyard bullies or taking a stand for coworkers against an unfair pol¬ 
icy. Healthy Eights are willing to take the heat and to do whatever is 
necessary to protect the people they see as under their charge. 

When this happens, Eights achieve a degree of greatness on what¬ 
ever scale they have been operating—the family, the nation, the 
world—and are honored and respected as a result. They achieve a kind 
of immortality that lifts them to the rank of hero. They are like forces 
of nature whom others intuitively honor and respect. History records 
many healthy Eights who were willing to take a stand for something 
beyond themselves—sometimes even beyond their immediate under¬ 
standing—and much of the enduring good in our world has been 
achieved through their determination and struggles. 


Eights become actualized and remain healthy by learning to open 
their hearts to others in the manner of a healthy Two. Eights do not 
need to add any new qualities-for this to occur; rather, they need to re¬ 
connect with their hearts to see how much they care about people. 
Many Eights discover this side of themselves through their love of chil¬ 
dren or a pet. Children can bring out the best in many Eights because 
they cherish and respect the innocence of children and want to protect 
it. With children and animals, Eights can let down their guard and 
allow some of their tenderness to come to the surface. 

For Eights to be able to embrace their bigness of heart, they must 
first gather the courage to reveal it. This requires that they trust in 
something beyond their own wits and power—and that, of course, re¬ 
quires letting go of many of their fundamental defenses. No matter 
how full of rage and shut down an Eight may be, the sensitive child 
that made the decision to protect itself still lives inside, waiting for the 
opportunity to contact the world again. 

It is important to understand, however, that the movement to Two 
is not accomplished by imitating the average qualities of the Two. 
Flattering others and attempting to please them in a forced way will 
not lead to much heart-opening and will often strike others as false. 
Rather, the path for Eights lies in letting down their defenses and get¬ 
ting in greater contact with their hearts. Of course, an instant fear of 
vulnerability will arise, but as Eights learn to acknowledge this fear and 
let it pass, they become more comfortable with their gentler feelings. 

Integrating Eights make outstanding leaders because they clearly 
communicate their profound respect and appreciation of other human 
beings. They are also effective because, like healthy Twos, they 


THE PATH OF 
INTEGRATION: 
EIGHT GOES TO 
TWO 



3 I 2 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


recognize boundaries and limits—especially the latter. As they learn to 
nurture themselves and to accept vulnerability in their lives, their 
health and sense of well-being improve. They work hard but also know 
when it is time to rest, to eat, and to restore their strength. They choose 
leisure activities that really nurture themselves, not overindulging their 
appetites or seeking more intensity. 


TRANSFORMING 
PERSONALITY 
INTO ESSENCE 


As Eights are able to allow their vulnerability to surface, they learn 
to come to Presence again and again and gradually let go of their self- 
image of always needing to be strong and in control. If they persist, 
they eventually come into direct contact with their Basic Fear of being 
harmed or controlled by others and understand the roots of this fear in 
their personal history. As they work through old fears and hurts, they 
become less attached to their Basic Desire to always protect themselves. 

When a person becomes liberated from their Basic Fear and Basic 
Desire, there is a reversal of everything that has happened in the lower 
Levels of Development. The self-reliance and self-assertion of the Eight 
personality structure dissolves, creating the space for real Essential 
strength to emerge. This enables Eights to surrender to some larger 
plan than the one they have for themselves. Eights who do so can be¬ 
come extraordinarily heroic, like Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson 
Mandela, or Franklin Roosevelt. These people surrendered concern 
about their individual survival to become vessels for a higher purpose. 
(“If they kill me, they kill me. I yield my life. The vision will live on.”) 
Something inspiring and ennobling arises out of the freedom that has 
been created when their Basic Fear has been overcome. 


THE EMERGENCE OF ESSENCE 

In their deepest self, Eights remember the simple joy of existence: the 
exquisite satisfaction of being alive, especially at the primal, instinctive 
level. They still have some degree of contact with the purity and power 
of the instinctual responses and remind us that these, too, are part of the 
Divine order. Without a real connection to the wellspring of our native 
instincts, we are cut off from the basic luel we need for our transforma¬ 
tion. 

The Essential core of the Eight cuts through the falsehoods and 
niceties of the personality, bringing forth a simple, unsclf-conscious em¬ 
bodiment of truth. Oscar Ichazo called this quality “Innocence," and in 
a way. Eights also long for the innocence they knew as children—an in¬ 
nocence they felt they had to leave behind in order to be strong. 

Eights also express the innocence of the natural order, the inno- 



TYPE EIGHT: THE CHALLENGER 313 

cence in which all creatures in the world manifest their nature. Cats in- “Unless you change your life 
nocently function as cats, even as they stalk their prey. Birds innocently and become like a child, you 
function as birds, and fish as fish. It is humankind alone that seems to cannot enter the kingdom of 
have lost touch with this innate capacity. We could say that the Heaven.” 

Essential nature of Eights reminds us of what it is like to be completely j ESUS of Nazareth 

human, living beings, functioning as part of a vast, perfectly balanced 
natural order. 

When Eights give up their own willfulness, they discover the 
Divine Will. Instead of trying to have power through the assertion of 
their egos, they align themselves with Divine Power. Instead of a me- 
against-the-world attitude, they see that they have a role to play in the 
world, which, if followed wholeheartedly, could earn them a place of 
immortality among the great heroes and saints of history. The liberated 
Eight has the power to inspire others to be heroic as well, influencing 
people possibly for centuries. 

Eights also remember the omnipotence and strength that comes 
from being a part of the Divine reality. The Divine will is not the same 
as willfulness. As Eights understand this, they end their war with the 
world and discover that the solidity, power, and independence that they 
have been seeking are already here. They are a part of their true nature 
as they are part of the true nature of every human being. When they 
experience this deeply enough, they are able to relax fully into Being, 
feeling effortlessly at one with the world and with the unfolding mys¬ 
tery of life. 


Add your scores, 
for the fifteen 
statements for 
Type Eight. Your 
result will be be¬ 
tween 15 and 
75. The follow¬ 
ing guidelines 
may help you 
discover or con¬ 
firm your .person¬ 
ality type. 




► 15 You are probably not an assertive type 

(not a Three, Seven, or Eight). 

► 15-30 You are probably not a Type Eight. 

► 30—45 You most probably have Eight-issues, 

or an Eight parent. 

► 45-60 You most likely have an Eight-compo¬ 

nent. 

► 60-75 You are most likely an Eight (but could 

still be another type if you are thinking 
too narrowly about Type Eight). 


Eights are most 
likely to 
misidentify 
themselves as 
Sevens, Sixes, 
or Fours. Sixes, 
Threes, and 
Sevens are most 
likely to misiden¬ 
tify themselves as 
Eigfjts. 


V; v 



CHAPTER 15 



THE HEALER 


THE OPTIMIST 


THE RECONCILER 


THE COMFORTER 


THE UTOPIAN 


NOBODY SPECIAL 


TYPE NINE: 

THE 

PEACEMAKER 

▲ 


“Most people think of peace as a state of Nothing Bad Happening, or 
Nothing Much Happening. Yet if peace is to overtake us and make us the 
gift of serenity and well-being, it will have to be the state of Something 
Good Happening. ” 

—E. B. White 


"There is a price which is too great to pay for peace, and that price can be 
put in one word. One cannot pay the price of self respect. ” 

—Woodrow Wilson 
“Men tieedsome kind of external activity, because they are inactive within. ” 

—Schopenhauer 


“Indolence is a delightful but distressing state: we must be doing something 
to be happy. ” 


—William Hazlitt 



1. What people seem to like about me is that they feel safe 
around me. 

2. I don’t mind being around people, and I don’t mind being 
alone—either way is fine, as long as I’m at peace with 
myself. 

3. I’ve found a certain balance in my life, and I see no reason 
to mess with it. 

4. Being “comfortable” in every sense of the word appeals to 
me a lot. 

5. I would rather give someone else their way than create a 
scene. 

. 6. I don’t know exactly how I do it, but I don’t let things get 
to me. 

7. I’m pretty easy to please and usually feel that what I have is 
good enough for me. 

. 8. I’ve been told that I seem distracted and absentminded— 
the fact is I understand things, but I just don’t want to react 
to them. 

. 9. I don’t think I’m particularly stubborn, but people say that 
I can be hard-headed once I make up my mind. 

.10. Most people get themselves worked up too easily: I’m much 
more even-keeled. 

11. You’ve got to take what life brings, since there’s not much 
you can do about it anyway! 

.12. I can easily see different points of view, and I tend to agree 
with people more than I disagree with them. 

.13- I believe in emphasizing the positive rather than dwelling 
on the negative. 

14. I have what might be called a philosophy of life that guides 
me and gives me a great deal of comfort in difficult times. 

15. During the day, I do everything that needs to be done, but 
when the day is over, I really know how to relax and take it 
easy. 


THE 

RISO-HUDSON 

TAS 


Type 

Attitude 

Sorter 


Score each of the follow¬ 
ing statements according 
to how true or applicable 
to you it is on the follow¬ 
ing scale: 

1 . Not at All True 

2 . Seldom True 

3 . Somewhat True 

4 . Generally True 

5 . Very True 


See page 340for 
scoring key. 








3 I 6 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAG RAM 


PERSONALITY TYPE NINE: THE PEACEMAKER 


► BASIC FEAR: Of loss and The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: 

separation; of annihila- Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent 
tion 


► BASIC DESIRE: To main¬ 
tain their inner stability 
and peace of mind 

► SUPEREGO MESSAGE: 
“You are good or okay as 
long as those around 
you are good or okay.” 


“I go with the flow. ” 


We have called personality type Nine the Peacemaker because no 
type is more devoted to the quest for internal and external peace for 
themselves and others. They are often spiritual seekers who have a great 
yearning for connection with the cosmos, as well as with other people. 
They work to maintain their peace of mind just as they work to estab¬ 
lish peace and harmony in their world. The issues encountered in the 
Nine are fundamental to all inner work—being awake versus falling 
asleep to our true nature; presence versus entrancement, tension versus 
relaxation, peace versus pain, union versus separation. 

Ironically, for a type so oriented to the spiritual world, Nine is the 
center of the Instinctive Triad and is the type that is potentially most 
grounded in the physical world and in their own bodies. The contra¬ 
diction is resolved when we realize that Nines are either in touch with 
their instinctive qualities and have tremendous elemental power and 
personal magnetism, or they are cut off from their instinctual strengths 
and can be disengaged and remote, even lightweight. 

To compensate for being out of touch with their instinctual ener¬ 
gies, Nines also retreat into their minds and their emotional fantasies. 
(This is why Nines can sometimes misidentify themselves as Fives and 
Sevens, “head types,” or as Twos and Fours, “feeling types.”) Further¬ 
more, when their instinctive energies are out of balance, Nines use 
these very energies against themselves, damming up their own power so 
that everything in their psyches becomes static and inert. When their 
energy is not used, it stagnates like a spring-fed lake that becomes so 
full that its own weight dams up the springs that feed it. When Nines 
are in balance with their Instinctive Center and its energy, however, 
they are like a great river, carrying everything along with it effortlessly. 

We have sometimes called the Nine the crown of the Enneagram 
because it is at the top of the symbol and because it seems to include 
the whole of it. Nines can have the strength of Eights, the sense of fun 
and adventure of Sevens, the dutifulness of Sixes, the intellectualism of 
Fives, the creativity of Fours, the attractiveness of Threes, the generos¬ 
ity of Twos, and the idealism of Ones. However, what they generally do 
not have is a sense of really inhabiting themselves —a strong sense of 
their own identity. 

Ironically, therefore, the only type the Nine is not like is the Nine 
itself. Being a separate self, an individual who must assert herself 






TYPE 


K I N E : 


THE 


PEACEMAKER 


against others, is terrifying to Nines. They would rather melt into 
someone else or quietly follow their idyllic daydreams. 

Red, a nationally known business consultant, comments on this 
tendency. 

I am aware of focusing on other people, wondering what they are 
like, how and where they live, etc. In a relationship with others, I 
often give up my own agenda in favor of the other person’s, I have to 
be on guard about giving in to other’s demands and discounting my 
own legitimate needs. 

Nines demonstrate the universal temptation to ignore the disturb¬ 
ing aspects of life and to seek some degree of peace and comfort by 
numbing out. They respond to pain and suffering by attempting to live 
in a state of premature peacefulness, whether it is in a state of false spir¬ 
itual attainment or in more gross denial. More than any other type, 
Nines demonstrate the tendency to run away from the paradoxes and 
tensions of life by attempting to transcend them or by seeking simple 
and painless solutions to their problems. 

To emphasize the pleasant in life is not a bad thing, of course—it 
is simply a limited and limiting approach to life. If Nines see the silver 
lining in every cloud as a way of protecting themselves from the cold 
and rain, other types have their distorting viewpoints, too. For exam¬ 
ple, Fours focus on their own woundedness and victimization, Ones on 
what is wrong with how things are, and so forth. By contrast, Nines 
tend to focus on the bright side of life so that their peace of mind will 
not be shaken. But rather than deny the dark side of life, what Nines 
must understand is that all of the perspectives presented by the other types 
are true, too. Nines must resist the urge to escape into “premature 
Buddhahood" or the “white light” of the Divine and away from the real 
world. They must remember that the only way out is through. 


THE CHILDHOOD PATTERN 

Many Nines report that they had a happy childhood, but this is not 
always the case. When their childhoods were more troubled, young 
Nines learned to cope by dissociating from the threatening and traumatic 
events around them and by adopting the role of Peacemaker or Mediator 
during family conflicts. They learned that the best way to keep 
harmony in the family was to “disappear” and not cause anyone any 
trouble. They learned that if they were undemanding and had few 
expectations—in short, if they were a low-maintenance child—they 
could effectively protect themselves while calming down Mommy and 


3 I 7 


Please note that the child¬ 
hood pattern we are 
describing here does not 
cause the personality type. 
Rather, it describes ten¬ 
dencies that we observe in 
the early childhood that 
have a major impact on 
the types adult relation¬ 
ships. 




3 I 8 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Daddy. (In a dysfunctional family system, the term that most applies 
here is Lost Child.) The feeling is, “If I show up and assert myself, I am 
going to create even more problems, so if I stay out of the way, the fam¬ 
ily will stay together.” 

Georgia, a well-known therapist, has been doing Inner Work for 
many years. 

My mother was alcoholic and had a volatile temper, so a lot of my ener¬ 
gy as a child was directed to keeping out of the way and not rocking the 
boat In this way I learned to stand on the sidelines of life and be 
accommodating to the needs of other people. I was afraid I wouldn’t be 
loved if I asserted myself. I chose to live my life in a more inward way, 
which was actually very rich to me, without confronting other people. 

Nines grew up feeling that having needs, asserting themselves, get¬ 
ting angry, or creating difficulties for their parents was not allowed. As 
a result, Nine children never learned to assert themselves adequately or, 
by extension, to actualize themselves independently of their parents and 
significant others. Young Nines learned to stay in the background 
where things could not get to them. In adulthood, their psychic space 
is so crowded with the issues and agendas of the people whom they are 
trying to accommodate that they are often unable to hear the voice of 
their own needs or desires. 

They also learned to repress anger and their own will so completely 
that they became unconscious of even having anger or a will of their 
own. They learned to adjust and go along with whatever life or others 
presented to them. Seldom did it occur to them to ask themselves what 
they wanted or thought or felt. As a result, it usually takes some dig¬ 
ging for Nines to get in touch with what they want for themselves. 

Red has spent years working on the issues of self-effacement and 
repressed anger. 

I have a clear sense of being left alone because I was such a “good lit¬ 
tle boy.” My mother always tells people what an “angel" I was because 
I could be left alone for hours and would amuse myself. I think my 
mother is a Nine and I picked up a lot of her philosophy of life.... 
When conflicts between her and my father would break out, she 
would use expressions such as “Don’t rock the boat" and “If you 
don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Another 
favorite was “It takes two to tango,” which was her way of telling me 
that she could end an argument by refusing to argue. 


In highly dysfunctional families, the young Nine may have been 
traumatized emotionally, physically, or sexually. Such Nines learn to 



TYPE 


NINE: THE 


PEACEMAKER 319 

protect themselves from intolerable feelings by dissociating or shutting 
down. From one point of view, it is a kind of blessing that they are 
not aware of their traumatic memories or of their rage, but on the 
other hand the result is a widespread deadening of their ability to 
allow reality to touch them with any depth or vividness. Such indi¬ 
viduals may become lost in fantasies or focus exclusively on whatever 
is positive and peaceful in their environment—no matter how much 
of an illusion this may later turn out to be. 

Andre is a successful real estate salesman in a major metropolitan 
area; much of his success comes from being natural and unassuming, 
common Nine traits, although these were learned at a high price. 

My mother was very depressed for much of my childhood. I knew 
that the less trouble I was for her, the safer I’d be, so I just tried to 
blend in as much as possible. I would escape to my grandmother’s 
backyard, where I loved the tall trees and her collection of animals. 


THE NINE WITH AN EIGHT-WING: THE REFEREE 

Healthy People of this subtype mix the ability to be agreeable and 
to comfort others with endurance and strength. They are both power¬ 
ful and gentle, able to easily engage with people and with things in the 
world, mediating between people and lessening conflicts. They often 
seek new projects to have an occasional change of pace from their nor¬ 
mal routines. They are also practical and are typically concerned with 
their immediate needs and physical and financial circumstances. More 
sociable than the other subtype, they generally prefer to work with 
other people. They excel in the helping professions and consulting and 
can be effective'in business, especially in negotiations or in human 
resource capacities. 

Average These people enjoy socializing and good times and are 
more attracted to losing themselves in sensuality and comforting rou¬ 
tines that interfere with their ability to stay focused on significant goals. 
They can be stubborn and defensive, tending to dig in their heels and 
refusing to listen to anyone. People of this subtype often have bad tem¬ 
pers, although it is difficult to predict'what will set them off—threats 
to their sense of personal well-being or to their family, job, or beliefs are 
typical. They can be blunt and explosive but suddenly return to a state 
of calm and placidity. 


THE WING 
SUBTYPES 


A 


Examples 

Ronald Reagan 
Gerald Ford 
Lady Bird Johnson 
Kevin Costner 
Sophia Loren 
Walter Cronkite 
Whoopi Goldberg 
Janet Jackson 
Ringo Starr 
Ingrid Bergman 



3 2 0 


Examples 

Abraham Lincoln 
Queen Elizabeth II 
Carl Jung 
George Lucas 
Audrey Hepburn 
Dame Margot Fonteyn 
Rose Kennedy 
Walt Disney 
Garrison Keillor 
Norman Rockwell 


THE 

INSTINCTUAL 

VARIANTS 

▲ 


THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

THE NINE WITH A ONE-WING: THE DREAMER 

Healthy People of this subtype are imaginative and creative, often 
able to synthesize different schools of thought or points of view into a 
vision of an ideal world. They are particularly good at nonverbal forms 
of communication (art, instrumental music, dance, sports, or work 
with animals and nature) and can thrive in large institutions. They are 
typically friendly and reassuring but have a distinct sense of purpose, 
especially about their ideals. They often make good therapists, coun¬ 
selors, or ministers, balancing nonjudgmental listening with the desire 
to be of help to others. 

Average They want external order as a way of giving order to 
their internal world. People of this subtype tend to get caught up in 
nonessential activities and busy-ness. They can be energetic but in a 
detached and uninvolved way that interferes with their ability to stay 
with long-range goals or to enlist others in joining them. They are less 
adventurous and more reserved than people of the other subtype, 
expressing anger with restraint and smoldering indignation. They are 
also concerned with respectability and often feel morally superior to 
different classes, cultures, and lifestyles. There may be a puritanical 
streak to them, as well as a prim and proper, perfectionistic quality to 
their personal style. 


THE SELF-PRESERVATION INSTINCT IN THE NINE 

The Comfort Seeker. In the average range, this variant is the 
pleasant, easygoing Nine who does not ask much from life. Self- 
Preservation Nines prefer simple pleasures that are readily available— 
eating at the nearest fast-food restaurant, watching a favorite' rerun 
on television, or “zoning out” in a comfy chair. They are usually not 
ambitious, although they may be quite talented. They generally 
deal with anxiety by getting involved in busywork—puttering and 
routines—and may use small tasks to avoid dealing with bigger proj¬ 
ects. They become increasingly attracted to minor rewards as com¬ 
pensation for not being able to pursue real desires—but always with 
some repressed underlying anxiety about not attending to their real 
needs. 

Nines’ inertia shows up most clearly in this variant. Apathy and 
self-neglect can cause Self-Preservation Nines to have difficulty mobi¬ 
lizing themselves to obtain what they really want or to take care of their 
genuine self-preservation needs. Increasingly, they use food and drink 
to suppress feelings of anxiety or anger and often possess large appetites 
and a tendency toward addiction. They do not want their pleasant 



TYPE 


NINE: THE 


PEACEMAKER 


3 2 I 


moods to be disturbed by others and often resist others simply by not 
responding to them, remaining stubbornly silent. 

In the unhealthy range, Self-Preservation Nines fall into deep apathy 
about their lives and can become fatigued and ineffectual. They become 
the chronic couch potato, emotionally shut down and slowly wasting 
their health, relationships, and possibilities. Addictions are common. 


THE SOCIAL INSTINCT IN THE NINE 

One Happy Family. In the average range, these are the Nines 
most interested in bringing people together and in making peace. They 
like to be involved with others, to be part of whatever is going on, but 
they also resist having too many expectations placed on them. They can 
be emotionally and mentally disengaged while physically involved. 
Social Nines generally have a good deal of energy and like to stay active 
but within defined, familiar structures. They do not mind working or 
helping others, but they like to have a clear sense of what will be 
expected of them. They can be surprisingly conventional and con¬ 
formist, in the sense that they will meet the expectations of their social 
circle, but they are also anxious about losing their identity, of becom¬ 
ing a “clone” or an appendage of someone else. 

Insecurities about their worth plus their desire to please and fit in 
also cause Social Nines to have difficulty saying no to people. They often 
end up resisting others anyway, usually passive-aggressively. Trying to 
please various people or groups in their lives can lead them to being scat¬ 
tered and disenchanted, like average Sevens. They often have trouble set¬ 
ting independent goals and following through with their intentions. 

In the unhealthy range, Social Nines can become resigned and 
depressed about their lack of development. Their neediness and intense 
insecurity are usually masked by emotional flatness. Displays of indig¬ 
nant anger may alienate people, thus heightening their feelings of social 
isolation. 


THE SEXUAL INSTINCT IN THE NINE 

Merging. In the average range, Sexual Nines want to take on the 
energetic qualities of the other, often gravitating to aggressive types. 
They can display minor aggressive traits themselves. They tend to be 
sassier than the other two variants, and their anger can be easily aroused 
if they feel that their connection with others is threatened. They seek a 
complete partnership, thinking of it as “our life” rather than “my life.” 
It is as if they want the other to fuse with them. Sexual Nines often 



3 2 2 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


THE NINE’S 
CHALLENGES TO 
GROWTH 


“I don’t care. It doesn’t 
matter to me. ” 


idealize the other, not wanting to see his or her flaws, but they can also 
become critical and demanding, especially if they have a One-wing. 
Compliments to the other are compliments to the self; the same is true 
for insults or disappointments. 

The other becomes the center of gravity, the axis of the Sexual 
Nine’s identity. As a result, people of this variant may fail to develop 
their own identity or any real sense of independence. Sexual Nines can 
be highly romantic and resemble Fours. Unrealistic rescue fantasies, the 
“Cinderella complex,” wishful thinking, and clinging to loved ones can 
all be part of the picture. 

In the unhealthy range, Sexual Nines become highly dissociated 
and depressed and seem to lack a core self. Unable to merge with the 
other adequately, they feel lost. Fantasies of the other mix with fantasies 
of anger and vengeance, but the latter are rarely acted on. These types 
end up either in highly dependent relationships or floundering on their 
own, waiting for one. Or the self may become a function of past rela¬ 
tionships. (“Meg and I were the most loving couple. I miss her so much 
since she died.”) 


Most Nines will encounter the following issues at some point in 
their lives. Noticing these patterns, “catching ourselves in the act,” 
and simply seeing our underlying habitual responses to life will do 
much to release us from the negative aspects of our type. 


THE WAKE-UP CALL FOR TYPE NINE: GOING ALONG 
WITH OTHERS 

Beginning in the average Levels, Nines experience the temptation 
to be overly accommodating to others because they fear that if they get 
into conflicts with people, they will lose their connection with them. 
For instance, when asked by a spouse where they would like to go for 
dinner, the Nine may well answer, “I don’t care, honey —wherever you 
want to go is fine with me.” 

Simply put, Nines get into the habit of saying yes to things that 
they do not really want to do. This strategy may avoid disagreements 
in the short run but almost inevitably leads to resentment on both 
sides. Further, the Nine’s resentment usually causes passive-aggressive 
behavior-—-agreeing to do something and then not doing it—which 
ultimately creates much greater conflicts and misunderstandings with 
others. Their accommodation also puts them in danger of being taken 
advantage of since they are willing to pay a high price to keep the peace. 

Hope, a talented therapist, recognized this pattern in herself. 



Key Terms: 


Nines let go of the belief that their participation in the world is unimpor- 


H 

Level 

1 

Self-Possessed 

Indomitable 

tant or unwanted; thus they can truly connect with themselves and with 
others. They also paradoxically achieve their Basic Desire—to have inner 

E 

stability and peace of mind. As a result of their self-actualization, they 

A 


become self-possessed, dynamic, serene, and present. 

Nines focus on the environment or on relationships as a whole, desiring to 


L 

Level 

2 

Unself conscious 
Peaceful 

maintain a harmonious stability within them and in their environment. 

T 

Self-image: “I am steady, easygoing, and kind.” 

H 


Nines reinforce their self-image by creating and maintaining peace and 
harmony in their world. They use their patient, levelheaded approach to 


Y 

Level 

Unselfish 

mediate conflicts and to soothe others. They are often highly imaginative, 


3 

Comforting 

inspiring others with a healing, positive vision of life. 


Level 

4 

Self-Effacing 

Agreeable 

Nines begin to fear that conflicts in their lives will ruin their peace of mind, 
so they begin to avoid potential conflicts by going along with others. They 

A 

consider many matters not worth arguing about, but will also begin to say 

V 

yes to things they really do not want to do. 

E 

Level 

Disengaged 

Complacent 

Nines worry that any significant changes in their world or any strong feel¬ 
ings will disrupt their fragile peace, so they set up their lives in ways that 

R 

will prevent things from getting to them. They lose themselves in comfort¬ 

A 

J 

ing routines and habits, putter around, and tune out problems. 




Nines are afraid that others will demand responses from them that may 

u 

Level 
6 • 

Resigned 

Appeasing 

arouse anxiety and ruin their inner peace, so they downplay the importance 

E 

of problems and try to deflect others. They stoically trudge through their 
lives, hanging on to wishful thinking and suppressing their anger. 


U 



Nines fear that reality will force them to deal with their problems, and this 

N 

Level 

Repressed 

may be true. They may react by defending the illusion that everything is 

7 

Neglectful 

okay and stubbornly resisting all efforts to get them to confront their prob¬ 

H 


lems. They are depressed, ineffectual, and listless. 

E 

Level 

Dissociating 

Nines are so desperate to hold on to whatever shred of inner peace they have 
left that they fear acknowledging reality at all. They try to block out of 

A 

8 

Disoriented 

awareness anything that could affect them through dissociation and denial. 

L 



They appear desolate, numb, and helpless, often experiencing amnesia. 

T 

Level 

Self- 

Abandoning 

“Disappearing” 

Very unhealthy Nines feel unable to face reality at all. They withdraw into 


9 

themselves and become completely unresponsive. They may attempt to 

H 


eliminate their awareness to save their illusions of peace through fragment¬ 

Y 


ing themselves into subpersonalities. 












3 2 4 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


I have been too placating, “mealy-mouthed,” and a pushover. I can 
remember times when. I needed to act, to stand up on my behalf or 
for others, and I couldn’t. Often it was out of some combination of 
the fear of conflict, fear that the situation would get worse, and the 
desire that everyone “should get along with one another.” For a large 
portion of my life I would downplay my ability, whether it was in 
sports or in my profession, in order to take a backseat and not stand 
out. It was important that I help others be in the front, not me. 

Accommodation and self-effacement mark the beginning of Nines’ 
“disappearing act.” Rather than assert themselves and run the risk of 
alienating others, Nines begin to disappear into conventional roles, as 
well as hide behind platitudes and slogans. If anxiety and conflicts 
increase, Nines become almost invisible. This occurs because Nines are 
trying to adapt to their circumstances, to “not be a problem,” but they 
lose themselves in the process. 

Hope pinpoints such a pivotal moment. 

In first grade I was still exhibiting my independence and told my 
teacher I wouldn’t copy what she wrote on the board. She walked 
back to me and shook my chin as hard as she could. I never was a dif¬ 
ficult student again in school or church. I became a “good girl,” doing 
what I was told. 


SAYING “YES” WHEN YOU MEAN “NO” 


Think of times in which you went along with the plans, preferences, or choices of others and submerged 
your own choices. What did this do to your sense of involvement? To your contact with yourself and your 
experience? Did you resent having to go along? How did you dispense with your own choice? What did you 
hope to gain by doing so? 


The Social Role: Nobody Special 

Average Nines begin to create a particular Social Role by seeing 
themselves as Nobody Special, the modest person who is content to 
stay in the background and not cause any inconvenience to others. 
(“Don’t buy me a birthday present. I know you love me.”) They feel 
that their presence, opinions, and involvement do not really matter and 
are of no particular consequence. As confining as this is from one point 
of view, Nines find comfort in this self-definition—it allows them to 
minimize their own hopes and expectations so that they will not be 
frustrated or feel rejected, angry, or disappointed. 




TYPE 


NINE: 


THE 


PEACEMAKER 


3 2 5 


The Social Role of Nines is subtle to grasp, although it is palpable 
once you have experienced it. The identity of Nines is like a ring that 
holds a stone or like the frame of a painting. Their attention is on the 
stone or the picture, not on themselves, and their identity and self¬ 
esteem arise by having a relationship (if only imaginary) with those 
who seem to them to have more value. 

Identifying themselves as Nobody Special also offers Nines a cer¬ 
tain camouflage, an ability to blend into the background where they 
will not be intruded on. Their Social Role also gives them the hope that 
if they do not take care of themselves, others will see their self-effacing 
humility and rush to their side. They may also believe that because they 
are humble and self-effacing, life will never present them with sorrow 
or tragedy. Unfortunately, things do not always work out this way, and 
by putting themselves last in line, Nines tend to court a certain amount 
of loneliness and depression. Opportunities pass them by, and others 
begin to not take them seriously. 

Philip is a distinguished college professor whose active academic 
life does not betray his inner sense of himself. 

I’ve lived with a sense of not being important. I’ve always assumed 
that other people count more than I do, that they should be consid¬ 
ered first, that their needs are more consequential than mine. A good 
example of this is the way in which I have responded to health prob¬ 
lems. If I’m experiencing symptoms, say, I’ll usually live with them for 
quite a while. On the other hand, when my children were small, if one 
of them took ill, I immediately made an appointment and took them 
to a doctor. 

Left unchecked, the Nobody Special role can leave Nines with lim¬ 
ited energy and little confidence in their ability to cope with life. They 
become depressed, easily fatigued, and need frequent naps and many 
hours of sleep. Taking any positive action for themselves becomes more 
and more difficult. 


I’M WORTH IT 


Make a list of the things in your life that excite you. Don’t edit yourself. What kind of person would you 
be if you could? What steps could you take today to become more like that person? This week? This year? 




3 2 6 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


“It is nothing to die; it is fright¬ 
ful not to live." 

Victor Hugo 


Sloth and Self-Forgetting 

Sloth in Nines has to do with not wanting to be internally engaged 
with what they are doing. They are not necessarily lazy about doing 
ordinary daily things—on the contrary, they might be extremely busy 
at work or running a business or a household. Their sloth is internal, a 
spiritual sloth that makes them not want to be deeply touched or 
affected by reality. They do not want to show up in their lives in an 
active, self-initiating way. The result is that even average Nines go on 
automatic pilot, so that life becomes less immediate and less threaten¬ 
ing to them. Life is lived at a safe distance, so to speak. 

The sloth is thus a sloth in self-remembering and self-awareness. 
Nines do not put energy into making contact with themselves, with 
others, or with the world. To identify with the body and its instincts 
is to become directly aware of our mortality. Nines hold on to certain 
comfortable inner states or identify with something beyond them¬ 
selves, in effect, dijfiising their awareness so that the full impact of mor¬ 
tality does not touch them. The world goes into soft focus, and Nines 
feel safer, but at the expense of their full vitality and aliveness. 

Despite the fact that they may be spiritual seekers, Nines often 
attempt to get the emotional and psychological benefits of inner work 
by doing the opposite of being present. They go to sleep, numbing 
themselves to what they really feel and tuning out reality while still 
expecting to function effortlessly in it. Ironically, Nines want unity 
between themselves and the world but end up achieving only an ersatz 
peacefulness, the false peace of numbness and dissociation—such a ten¬ 
uous “peacefulness” that it is disturbed by everything. Like all ego proj¬ 
ects, it is doomed to failure. 

Unself-Consciousness and Numbing Out 

As paradoxical as it sounds, Nines create and maintain their sense 
of identity by being unself-conscious, by not being too aware of them¬ 
selves as individual persons. All of the other types do something to cre¬ 
ate and maintain their sense of self—for instance, Fours constantly 
dwell on their feelings and inner states, and Eights constantly assert 
themselves in various ways. By contrast, Nines create their identity by 
not being directly aware of themselves. Instead, they focus on their rela¬ 
tionships with others. It is as if they are the room in which others gather, 
or the page in a photo album in which pictures of others are pasted. 
Their sense of self is thus a “negative capability, ” a capacity for holding 
the other—not themselves. 

This allows healthy Nines to be extraordinarily supportive of oth- 



TYPE 


NINE: THE 


PEACEMAKER 


3 2 7 


ers. But the fundamental mistake Nines make is to believe that to stay 
connected with others, they must not be connected with themselves. It 
also causes problems for Nines, because to maintain their negative 
capability, they must increasingly resist whatever would disturb their 
sense of harmony and connection. Their sense of self depends on keep¬ 
ing many impressions out. They particularly must resist anything that 
would make them aware of their rage, pain, frustration, or any other 
negative feeling. 

Outwardly, Nines may do many things, but much of their activity 
has the quality of busywork. They putter around and run errands but 
postpone dealing with more critical problems. In this state, Nines do 
not understand why people get frustrated with them. They are not 
bothering anyone, so why should anyone be upset with them? What 
they do not see is how frustrating their lack of appropriate response can 
be for others. They also do not see that they are laying the groundwork 
for a self-fulfilling prophecy: the disengagement of average-to- 
unhealthy Nines will eventually bring about the very thing they fear 
most—loss and separation from others. 

It is important for Nines to understand that numbness is not relax¬ 
ation. In fact, numbness depends on maintaining physical tension. 

When we are relaxed, we arc deeply aware of our breathing, our body 
sensations, and our surroundings. Real peace has the quality of alive- 
ness and energy and is not the flat detachment that we see here. 

Andre continues: 

At my worst, I feel numb. Not even really depressed, just numb.The 
smallest things can feel like an enormous effort. Long stretches of 
time can pass by while I simply stare out the window and think, or 
crash in front of the TV and channel surf.Time simply stops. It’s like 
becoming a zombie. I can still function in terms of going to work and 
appearing friendly, but inside I’m feeling completely shut down.There ■ 
is a sense of hopelessness about finding a direction in life. 

CHECKING OUT 

Whenever you become aware that you have “checked out” and have been unself-conscious for any note¬ 
worthy period of time, think back to what circumstances preceded your checking out. What seemed to be 
threatening you in some way that made you want to remove yourself from the scene? Did the threat seem 
to be only in the environment, or to be a state or reaction in yourself? As you become aware of what you 
uncover, use this information as an early warning system to help prevent you from becoming shut down in 
the future. 





3 2 8 T 


“I don’t let things get 
to me. ” 


HE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

Moving into the Inner Sanctum 

Appearances to the contrary, Nines are actually the most with¬ 
drawn of all the types, although because their withdrawal is not physi¬ 
cal, this is not as obvious as it is in other types. Nines continue to 
participate while withdrawing their attention from an active engage¬ 
ment with the world. They seek to create and maintain an Inner 
Sanctum, a private place in their minds that no one can tamper with. 
(“In here, I’m safe, and nobody can tell me what to do.”) 

Nines withdraw to this Inner Sanctum in times of anxiety and 
upset, or even when conflicts merely threaten. They populate their 
Inner Sanctum with idealized memories and fantasies; real people and 
the real world with their real problems are not allowed to intrude. 
Their Inner Sanctum is the one place Nines feel they can go and be free 
of the demands of others. Positively, this can allow them to remain 
calm in a crisis, but it can also lead to interpersonal problems and to a 
lack of self-development. 

On the higher levels, this can manifest as an inner reserve of calm, 
as Andre recounts. 

Most of the time I feel calm and tranquil—a contained, safe feeling. I 
like that about being a Nine. For example, during a recent earthquake 
when my house sounded as if it were being ripped apart, I wasn’t par¬ 
ticularly frightened. I had guests in from New York, and I heard them 
yelling in the living room, but I felt as if I were observing the quake 
from some other plane. I actually found it rather interesting. It 
seemed pointless to get upset; I couldn’t control what the earth was 
doing, so why worry? 

The more they inhabit their Inner Sanctum, the more Nines lose 
themselves in hazy daydreaming. Obliviousness to what is going on 
around them gives them the illusion of peace and harmony, but they 
are increasingly absentminded, which only frustrates others and makes 
Nines less productive and capable. If they fall deeply into this trance, 
Nines may well have feelings for their loved ones, or even for strangers 
and animals in distress, but their feelings do not connect with mean¬ 
ingful action. Increasingly, their relationships occur primarily in their 
imaginations. 



TYPE 


NINE: 


THE 


PEACEMAKER 


3 2 9 


EXPLORING THE INNER SANCTUM 


Your Inner Sanctum is calm, peaceful, and safe, but living there comes at a high price, as perhaps you are 
beginning to understand. Can you identify moments when you shift your attention into your Inner Sanctum? 
What are the elements or qualities of your Inner Sanctum that make it a safe haven for you? What are its 
unrealistic elements? Become more clear in your own mind about how much you would gain if you could 
stay engaged in the real world more often rather than seek sanctuary in your Inner Sanctum. 


Idealizing Others in Relationships 

Nines idealize others and live through a handful of primary identi¬ 
fications, usually with family and close friends. As one Nine put it, “I 
do not have to be in constant contact with somebody as long as I know 
they are there.” As this continues, Nines begin to relate to the idea of 
the other rather than to the other as he or she actually is. For example, 
a Nine may idealize his family, but if one of his children actually has a 
drug problem or some other serious crisis, he will generally have a very 
difficult time dealing with that reality. 

Idealization allows Nines to focus on someone else rather than on 
themselves. It also allows Nines to have a positive emotional reaction 
toward others, satisfying their superego message. (“You are good or 
okay as long as those around you are good or okay.”) Idealizing Nines 
are often attracted to stronger, more aggressive people, looking to them 
to supply the “juice” in relationships. Their more energetic, dynamic 
friends and intimates provide them with the vitality that they tend to 
suppress in themselves. Often this unstated bargain works relatively 
well, since more assertive types generally look for someone to go along 
with their plans and adventures. Idealizing others also indirectly main¬ 
tains (or even increases) their self-esteem: if an outstanding person is in 
some kind of relationship with them, their sense of self-worth is 
increased. 

But there are three major dangers with this arrangement. First, 
Nines can be taken advantage of by these more assertive, independent, 
and aggressive types. Second, the more freewheeling, independent 
types will often lose interest in the more complacent and unadventur¬ 
ous Nines. Last, and most important, as long as Nines are trying to fill 
themselves by merging with the vitality of another, it is unlikely that 
they will do the work necessary to recover their own vitality. 






3 3 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


FINDING YOUR HIDDEN STRENGTHS 


Whenever you idealize someone in a relationship, notice what qualities about the other person you tend 
to focus on. Are these qualities that you feel you are missing in yourself? Remember that in your Essential 
nature, you already have these qualities—and that, from this point of view, the other person is simply acting 
as a reminder to you of what is blocked in yourself. Your idealizations can therefore act as a trustworthy 
guide for your own Inner Work to uncover and claim more of your own positive qualities. 


‘One day my ship will 


come in. 


Living by Formulas or a “Philosophy of Life” 

Average Nines increasingly rely on a “philosophy of life,” which is 
usually a mixture of homey aphorisms, common sense, scriptural texts, 
and proverbs, as well as folk sayings and quotations of all kinds. These 
formulas give average Nines a way to deal with people and potentially 
upsetting or troublesome sittlations. They have ready-made answers for 
life’s problems, but although their “answers” may be true in some cir¬ 
cumstances, they tend to be simplistic and not allow for nuance or 
individual cases. The problem is that Nines use these airtight philoso¬ 
phies to shield themselves from upset rather than to guide them toward 
deeper truths or real understanding. Furthermore, many of the philoso¬ 
phies embraced by average Nines offer solace. (“I am God.” “All is 
One.” “Everything is love.”) Without requiring any effort, they can 
then become excuses for further disengagement and passivity. 

Less healthy Nines may use spirituality to defend a kind of fatal¬ 
ism, accepting negative or even damaging situations as if there were 
nothing that they could do about them. (“It’s God’s will.”) Deeply 
defended Nines also dismiss their own intuitions, commonsense judg¬ 
ments, sense perceptions, and even personal experience and profes¬ 
sional expertise in order to cling to what they wish to be true. It is as if 
they could ignore their own inner warning bells without consequences 
to themselves or others. They become prematurely resigned, trying to 
convince themselves and others not to worry about anything or to get 
upset. After all, the angels will take care of it. 


AIRTIGHT PHILOSOPHIES 


Whenever you “catch yourself in the act” of thinking or saying some kind of aphorism or proverb, notice 
two things. First, note what unpleasant or negative feeling you are using the saying to counteract Can you 
move your attention into your body and become aware of whatever sensations you are feeling? Second, 
begin an exercise in which you see how the proverb is not true—that perhaps the exact opposite of it could 
be called for. Perhaps the real truth lies somewhere in the middle. 











TYPE 


NINE: THE 


PEACEMAKER 


Stubbornness and Inner Resistance 

Nines may well know that their attention and energy are required 
for their own self-development, for addressing problems, or for mean¬ 
ingfully engaging with others. But they feel an indefinable hesitancy, as 
if some extraordinary effort were required to participate more fully in 
their own lives. It all seems like too much trouble. Most of us can recall 
mornings in which we have been enjoying a pleasant dream but have to 
get out of bed and face some challenging task in the day ahead. We are 
often tempted to hit the snooze button to allow ourselves a few more 
minutes of pleasant dreaming. We may even hit the snooze button sev¬ 
eral times—enough to make us late. Average Nines have a similar mech¬ 
anism in their psyches that causes them to postpone awakening. 

The more others pressure average Nines to wake up and respond, 
the more they withdraw. They want to get people “off their backs,” so 
they appease others, seeking peace at any price. 

Andr£ talks about the futility of trying to stand up for himself 
against his mothers demands. 

The only thing that seemed to give my mother any satisfaction was 
decorating our home. A Four, she worked hard at making our ordi¬ 
nary suburban home distinctive. When it was time for my room to 
be decorated, she removed all my posters and replaced them with 
foil wallpaper in a variety of pastel shades. I felt erased. I hated it, but 
knew she wouldn’t change it, so I just didn’t get upset It was a waste 
of energy to even become involved in a discussion with her about it. 

Even though Nines tend to be accommodating, they have an inner 
core of stubbornness and resistance, a desire to not be affected by any¬ 
one or anything they see as threatening to their peace. Others may see 
such Nines as passive, although they internally harbor enormous 
strength and determination—in service of being left undisturbed. 
Beneath the surface calm, average Nines are brick walls; beyond a cer¬ 
tain point, they are not going to budge. 

While many Nines do not want to be changed or influenced by 
others, less healthy Nines also do not want to be affected by their own 
reactions to events. They feel that anything that could rock the boat is 
threatening. This includes not only negative emotions but, ironically, 
positive ones as well. Allowing themselves to get too excited about 
something can be as threatening to their emotional stability as a legiti¬ 
mate disaster. 

Strangely, no matter how unpleasant the circumstances of their 
lives, less healthy Nines powerfully resist any effort to help them get 
out of them. Their patience has turned into grim endurance: life is to 


3 3 


“I’ll deal with this 
a little later. ” 



3 3 2 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


be gotten through, not to be lived, and certainly not to be actually 
enjoyed. What pleasures they allow themselves are used to distract 
them from their growing internal deadness. But eating snacks while 
watching reruns on TV, or hanging out with friends, or living vicari¬ 
ously through others cannot entirely cover the pain of realizing that 
their lives are stalled. 


STOP POSTPONING YOUR LIFE 


Take a few moments in your Inner Work Journal to inquire about the many different ways in which you 
postpone showing up more fully in your life.Where and how do you typically hit your snooze button? Are 
there particular conditions that trigger this behavior? At home? At the office? With particular people or cir¬ 
cumstances? What conditions do you require to wake up? 


Suppressed Anger and Rage 

Lower-average Nines seem not to have an aggressive (or even an 
assertive) bone in their bodies. Underneath their outward appearance 
of contentment and neutrality, however, we often find a great deal of 
hidden anger and resentment that Nines do not want to acknowledge, 
much less deal with. 

“The more you bring it Anger is an instinctual response, and if it is not processed, it is 

up, the less I’m going eventually transformed into rage. If their rage remains bottled up, 

to do it. ” many other powerful human feelings and capacities—even the capaci¬ 

ty to experience love—do, too. Average Nines fear that if they were to 
allow their rage to surface, they would lose the two most important 
things in their lives: their peace of mind and their connections with 
other people. Actually, the opposite is true. Once Nines become aware 
of it, repressed rage can serve as the very fuel they need to escape their 
inner inertia. 

Nines are angry (rageful, negative) for a number of reasons, not all 
of them obvious. Subconsciously, they are angry because they feel that 
they do not have “space” to have a life of their own. They are so busy 
trying to accommodate everyone else and maintain harmonious rela¬ 
tionships that a good deal of resentment builds up. They are also angry 
because they feel that others are continually upsetting them, trying to 
prod them into action when they want to be left alone, or reminding 
them of problems and difficulties when they would rather not think 
about them. Last, Nines are angry because others may have been abu¬ 
sive or have taken advantage of them in some way, and they have felt 
powerless to do anything about it. 

Less healthy Nines have the tendency to become “doormats” and 






TYPE 


NINE: THE 


P EACEMAKER 


3 3 3 


to passively suffer whatever others dish out. Average Nines freeze up 
whenever their instinctive self-protective responses are needed. They 
feel unable to defend themselves appropriately, to speak up for them¬ 
selves, or to take timely action to further their own interests. Feeling 
powerless is one of the most powerful causes of suppressed rage. 

We often think of anger as something negative. But the less under¬ 
stood positive side of it is its ability to sweep away the blockages that 
keep us locked in our old patterns. There is a salutary side to anger 
which might be called holy anger —the ability to put one’s foot down, 
to draw a boundary, and to defend oneself. Much recovery work for 
Nines involves getting in touch with how clamped down their energy 
is and with allowing themselves to feel their anger. 


INTEGRATING YOUR ANGER 


You need to practice being okay with being angry and with seeing anger as a force that you have a legit¬ 
imate right to experience and exercise. From a spiritual point of view, anger gives us the ability to say no— 
to protect ourselves from something we do not want to have in our lives. It will therefore be helpful if you 
could start by allowing yourself to say no to the things that you really do not want. If you feel guilty or fear¬ 
ful as a result, just note those reactions and stay calm and centered. Be mindful, however, of learning to say 
no in meaningful, legitimate situations: but if you err, err on the side of overdoing no-saying, at least for a 
while, until you become more practiced at it 


As we have seen, Nines attempt to manage stress by downplaying 
their own choices and desires and by retreating to their Inner Sanctum. 
When these coping skills are insufficient to contain their anxieties, 
Nines go to Six, investing themselves in ideas or relationships that they 
believe will give them more security and stability. 

When worries and anxieties surface, Nines focus intensively on 
work and projects. It is as if, after letting things go for a while, they 
snap to and try to cover all of the bases at once in a high-pressured 
phase of frantic activity. At the same time, they are often highly reac¬ 
tive to the demands of others, becoming more passive-aggressive and 
defensive. Their positive “philosophies of life” crack to reveal the 
doubts and pessimism that they have been defending against. Also like 
Sixes, Nines under stress may bring up long-hidden complaints about 
others and their lot in life. While venting does temporarily lower their 
stress, its benefit is usually short-lived because Nines are still reluctant 
to come to terms with the roots of their unhappiness. Under extreme 
stress, they may develop a siege mentality. Paranoid suspicions can 
rapidly escalate into blaming others for their problems and reacting 


REACTING TO 
STRESS: 
NINE GOES TO 
SIX 

▲ 







3 3 4 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


defiantly. Angry outbursts and displays of temper can be as surprising 
to Nines as they are to those who witness them. 


THE RED FLAG: 
THE NINE IN 
TROUBLE 


If Nines have suffered a serious crisis without adequate support or 
coping skills, or if they have suffered from chronic abuse in childhood, 
they may cross the shock point into the unhealthy aspects of their type. 
This may lead them to a fearful recognition that the problems and con¬ 
flicts in their lives are not going away and may even be getting worse— 
especially because of their own inaction. They may also be forced by 
reality to deal with their problems. (Despite the Nine’s denial, the 
police bring a child home, or the spouse with a “slight alcohol prob¬ 
lem” gets fired for drunkenness, or the lump in the breast has not gone 
away as hoped.) 

Coming to these realizations, while terrifying, can be a turning 
point in a Nines life. They may begin to turn their lives around and 
move toward health and liberation. On the other hand, they may 
become even more stubborn and determined to maintain the comfort¬ 
ing illusion that everything is okay. (“Why is everyone trying to upset 
me?” “The more you bring it up, the less I’m inclined to do anything 
about it!”) If Nines persist in this attitude, they may cross into the 
unhealthy Levels. If you or someone you know is exhibiting the fol¬ 
lowing warning signs for an extended period of time—more than two 
or three weeks—getting counseling, therapy, or other support is highly 
advisable. 


WARNING SIGNS 

POTENTIAL PATHOLOGY: 
Dissociative Disorders, De¬ 
pendent and Schizoid 
Disorders, anhedonic de¬ 
pression, extreme denial, 
severe long-term deperson¬ 
alization 


► Denial of serious health, financial, or personal problems 

► Obstinacy and long-standing resistance to getting help 

► General awareness and vitality dampened and repressed 

► A sense of inadequacy and general neglectful ness 

► Dependency on others and allowing themselves to be exploited 

► Chronic depression and emotional flatness (anhedonia) 

► Extreme dissociation (feeling lost, confused, deeply 
disconnected) 





TYPE 


NINE: THE 


PEACEMAKER 


3 3 5 


► While real humility is an admirable trait in human beings, it is not 
one that you have to work at. Learn to discriminate between genuine 
humility and the tendency to discount yourself and your abilities. In other 
words, remember the Nine’s Social Role, Nobody Special, and notice 
when you are falling into it. You may feel overwhelmed by life’s problems 
and that you have little to offer others, but a quick look at the discord, vio¬ 
lence, and pain in the world may guide you to a quiet wisdom about what 
you can do. If there is an energy that is needed to restore a balance on this 
troubled globe, it is certainly the calm, healing, reconciling energy of 
healthy Nines. Know that when you are truly connected to yourself, you 
have all the power and capacity you need for whatever situation you face. 

► Learn the value of the word no. It is quite natural to not want 
to disappoint others, but when you are presented with a proposition 
that you are uncomfortable with, it is better to make your misgivings 
known at the outset rather than silently acquiescing and regretting it 
later. Further, others are much more likely to be upset with you if you 
resist their plans passive-aggressively after you have initially agreed to 
them. Most people want to know what your real opinion or preference 
is—even if it seems unimportant to you at the time. 

► Learn to recognize what jok want from a given situation. Often 
you will be so busy taking into account the positions and views of oth¬ 
ers that you will tend to neglect your own. Because of this habit of 
mind, you may not know what you want immediately. If necessary, do 
not be afraid to ask others to give you a moment to consider the 
options. And don’t be afraid to pursue the option you prefer when it 
arises. Remember that you are allowed to have wants. 

► Take a tip from healthy Threes and invest time and energy in 
developing yourself and your talents. There are many pleasant, per¬ 
fectly valid ways to spend your time, entertaining yourself or hanging 
out with friends or loved ones—but make sure you do not shortchange 
yourself by neglecting your own development. The initial struggles may 
bring up many of your anxieties about yourself, but the rewards of per¬ 
sisting in your development will be much greater and more deeply sat¬ 
isfying. Further, investing in yourself will not lead you away from your 
connection with others: everyone will benefit from a stronger, more 
fully actualized you. 

► Notice when you are imagining a relationship with someone 
instead of actually relating with him or her. For most people, sitting on 
a couch with you while you daydream about a camping trip or a recent 
episode of your favorite TV show is not very satisfying. If you find that 
you are “checking out” with a particular person, you might well ask 
yourself if you are uncomfortable or angry with them about something. 


PRACTICES THAT 
HELP NINES 
DEVELOP 



3 3 6 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


BUILDING ON 
THE NINE’S 
STRENGTHS 

A 


In any event, talking about it may help you reconnect with yourself and 
with them. 

► Learn to recognize and process your anger. For most Nines, 
anger is very threatening. Of all the emotions, it feels like the one that 
can most easily destroy your inner peace. Yet it is only through anger 
that you will connect with your own inner power—it is the fuel that 
will burn away your inertia. This does not mean, of course, that you 
need to go around yelling at people and being aggressive with strangers. 
But it does mean that if you feel angry, it is all right to tell others that 
you are upset with them. Learn to seme your anger in your body. What 
does it feel like? Where does it register most strongly in your body? 
Becoming familiar with it as a sensation can help you to be less afraid 
of it. 


One of the greatest sources of strength for Nines is their profound 
patience: a deep “letting be” of other people that allows others to de¬ 
velop in their own way. This is the quality shown by a good parent who 
patiently teaches his or her children new skills while remaining at a 
respectful but watchful distance. 

Nines’ patience is supported by a quiet strength and tremendous 
endurance. They are able to “hang tough” through hardships and diffi¬ 
cult experiences. Nines often report their ability to outlast flashier com¬ 
petition in work settings or in relationships—much like the parable of 
the tortoise and the hare. When they are healthy, Nines are able to 
work steadily and persistently toward their goals and often achieve 
them. Their willpower is liberated, and they discover incredible grit 
and stamina—as befits the type at the center of the Instinctive Triad. 

Healthy Nines are also highly effective in handling crises because 
they have an extraordinary inner stability. The little ups and downs 
of life do not knock them off balance; nor do major problems, set¬ 
backs, and disasters. When everyone else is overreacting with anxiety, 
Nines become the still, calm center that moves ahead and gets things 
done. 

Andre knows how simple—and how challenging—this can be. 

Getting out of a period of malaise and numbness is simple: admitting 
to myself there is something wrong, then telling someone I trust how 
I feel. It is painful connecting with "messy" emotions, but doing so 
seems to diffuse them. Another strategy that helps is reconnecting 
with my body by going to the gym, getting a massage, etc. Having a 
dog has also been great for me. He is so "in the moment" and 
demanding of my full attention that it’s hard to go into zombie mode. 



TYPE 


NINE: THE 


PEACEMAKER 


3 3 7 


Healthy Nines are extraordinarily inclusive of others, an especially 
important talent in todays diverse global society. (This indicates why 
Sixes who tend to be exclusive and to segregate people into “in” and 
“out” groups need to integrate to Nine.) While Nines see the good in 
others (and desire to merge with them), really healthy Nines can also 
see the good in themselves (and desire to become more independent 
and personally engaged with their world). 

Although Nines are clearly interested in supporting others, they are 
not identified with the role of the Rescuer or the Helper. They are val¬ 
ued because they listen without judgment, offering others the freedom 
and dignity of a live-and-iet-live philosophy. They are forgiving and 
give others the benefit of the doubt, always looking for the positive 
interpretation of a situation. Their ability to create space for others and 
to give everyone a fair hearing causes people to seek them out. They can 
entertain different points of view, but they are also able to take a firm 
stand when necessary. Their simplicity, innocence, directness, and 
guilelessness put people at ease and make others trust them. 

In healthy Nines, differences of opinion, conflicts, and tensions are 
permitted and even valued. They often have the ability to arrive at a 
new synthesis that resolves the contradiction or conflict at another 
level. Thus, Nines can be highly creative, although they tend to be 
humble about their talents. Further, Nines typically like to express 
themselves nonverbally—through music, art, painting, or dance. They 
can be extremely imaginative and enjoy exploring the world of dreams 
and symbols. Nines think holistically and desire to maintain a sense of 
being at one with the universe. Myths are a way of talking about the 
larger themes of human nature and about the moral order of existence: 
in the end, everything is good and working out as it should. 


Nines become actualized and remain healthy by learning to recog¬ 
nize their own Essential value, like healthy Threes. In effect, they over¬ 
come their Social Role, Nobody Special, and recognize that they are 
worth their own time and energy. They work at developing themselves 
and their potential and put themselves out in the world, letting others 
know what they have to offer. 

The biggest obstacle to their self-actualization is their tendency 
toward inertia. Integrating Nines will frequently encounter feelings of 
heaviness or sleepiness whenever they try to do something good for 
themselves. But as they integrate, they will find their energy increasing, 
and with it their charisma. After thinking of themselves as invisible for 
most of their lives, integrating Nines are amazed that others not only 
listen to them but in fact seek them out. As they recognize their own 
value, others appreciate them more as well. As they reclaim the vitality 


“We can all get along. ” 


THE PATH OF 
INTEGRATION: 
NINE GOES TO 
THREE 



3 3 8 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


of their instinctual nature, they become energizing to others. Thus, as 
integrating Nines discover their innate value, they find it mirrored by 
other people, which surprises and delights them. 

Integrating Nines also come in contact with their heart, the seat of 
their identity, and express themselves with a simple authenticity that 
can be very moving. They are able to assert themselves as they need to, 
understanding that self-assertion is not the same as aggression. Further, 
their resistance to reality falls away, making them more flexible and 
adaptable to circumstances. 

Of course, integration for Nines does not mean imitating the aver¬ 
age qualities of Type Three. Becoming driven, competitive, or image¬ 
conscious will do little to build genuine self-esteem—on the contrary, 
it will sustain their anxieties about their own worth and keep them dis¬ 
sociated from their true identity. But as Nines find the energy to invest 
in their own self-development, the love and strength of their own heart' 
becomes an indomitable, healing force in their world. 


TRANSFORMING 
PERSONALITY 
INTO ESSENCE 

▲ 


“Unity is not something we 
are called to create; it’s some¬ 
thing we are called to recog¬ 
nize.” 


William Sloan Coffin 


Ultimately Nines reclaim their Essential nature by confronting 
their Basic Fear of losing connection and by letting go of the belief that 
their participation in the world is unimportant—that they do not have 
to “show up.” They realize that the only way to truly achieve the unity 
and wholeness they seek is not by “checking out” into the realms of the 
imagination but by fully engaging themselves in the present moment. 
Doing so requires that they reconnect with their instinctual nature and 
with their phy^icality in an immediate way. Often this requires con¬ 
fronting repressed feelings of anger and rage that can be extremely 
threatening to their ordinary sense of self. But when Nines stay with 
themselves and are able to integrate their anger, they begin to feel the 
stability and steadiness that they have been seeking. From this platform 
of inner strength, actualizing Nines become indomitable forces, grace¬ 
ful and powerful and aligned with the Divine will. We can see such 
qualities in extraordinary Nines such as Abraham Lincoln, or His 
Holiness the Dalai Lama. 

In order to achieve true connection and wholeness, this realm of 
mortal experience is what Nines must learn to accept and embrace. 
While it is true that there are many aspects of reality beyond the man¬ 
ifest world, we do not become realized by negating or denying that 
world. In other words, we cannot really transcend the human condi¬ 
tion: only by embracing it fully do we arrive at the fullness of our true 
nature. 

When Nines realize and accept this truth, they become extraordi¬ 
narily self-possessed and independent. They learn to assert themselves 
more freely and to experience greater peace, equanimity, and con- 



TYPE NINE: THE PEACEMAKER 339 

tenement. Their self-possession enables them to create profoundly 
satisfying relationships with others because they are truly present to 
themselves—alive, awake, exuberant, and alert. They become dynamic, 
joyful people, working for peace and healing their world. 

Far from being detached or repressed, they discover that they enjoy 
being engaged with life and make amazing discoveries for themselves, 
as Red notes. 

1 know exactly what I need to say and do, and I have the strength and 
conviction to do it. I stop trying to please others and focus on pleas¬ 
ing myself. Strangely enough, this effort to meet my own needs very 
often meets the needs of the group, as if by concentrating on my own 
needs I have intuitively anticipated the needs of the group. 


THE EMERGENCE OF ESSENCE 


Nines remember the Essential quality of wholeness and comple¬ 
tion. They remember the interconnectedness of all things—that noth¬ 
ing in the universe exists separate from anything else. This knowledge 
brings great inner peace, and the Nine’s purpose in life, from an 
Essential point of view, is to be a living reminder of the spiritual 
nature of reality and, consequently, of the underlying unity of our true 
nature. 

Liberated Nines are fully present to and conscious of the wholeness 
and unity of existence while simultaneously retaining a sense of self. 
Less healthy Nines have a capacity to perceive some of the boundless 
qualities of reality but tend to get lost in or merge with their sur¬ 
roundings. Liberated Nines do not forget themselves in these states or 
lose themselves in idealistic fantasies. They see how good and evil are 
mixed together. (“God sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”) 
They accept the paradoxical union of opposites—that pleasure and 
pain, sadness and joy, union and loss, good and evil, life and death, 
clarity and mystery, health and Illness, virtue and weakness, wisdom 
and foolishness, peace and anxiety—are all inextricably linked. 

This is a lesson that Martin, a business consultant, has come to for 
himself. 


“Happiness—to be dissolved 
into something complete and 
great.” 

Willa Cather 


When my wife died last year, I was devastated until I realized that her 
life and her death were all part of some larger event. Maybe one that 
I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around, but one that seemed to be of 
a piece. Once I accepted the wholeness of her life, then her death 
was just part of that bigger whole, and I could and did accept it 



3 4 0 


THE 


WISDOM 


O F THE 


ENNEA- GRAM 


Another Essential quality of the Nine is what Oscar Ichazo called 
“Holy Love,” although this must be understood rightly. The Essential 
love to which we are referring is a dynamic quality of Being that flows, 
transforms, and breaks down all barriers before it. It overcomes feelings 
of separateness and isolation within ego boundaries, issues that plague 
the Instinctive Triad. This is why real love is frightening—it entails the 
dissolution of boundaries and the death of the ego. Yet as we learn to 
surrender to the action of Holy Love, we reconnect with the ocean of 
Being and realize that at our core, we are this Love. We are this endless, 
dynamic, transforming Presence of loving awareness, and it has always 
been so. 


Add your scores 
for the fifteen 
statements for 
Type Nine. Your 
result will be 
between 15 and 
75. The following 
guidelines may 
help you discover 
or confirm your 
personality type. 


► 15 You are probably not a withdrawn type 
(not a Four, Five, or Nine). 


► 15-30 You are probably not a Type Nine. 

► 30-45 You most probably have Nine-issues or 

a Nine parent. 

► 45-60 You most likely have a Nine-compo¬ 

nent. 


► 60-75 You are most likely a Nine (but could 
still be another type if you are thinking 
too narrowly about Type Nine). 


Nines are most 
likely to 
mis identify 
themselves 
as Twos, Fives, 
or Fours. Sixes, 
Twos, and Sevens 
are most likely to 
misidentify 
themselves as 
Nines. 





PART III 


Tools for 


Transformation 



CHAPTER 16 


▼ 

THE 

ENNEAGRAM AND 
SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 


IN ITSELF, the Enneagram is not a spiritual path. It is an exceptional 
tool and a tremendous help to us for any path that we might be 
on. Nevertheless, the insights gained from it must be combined 
with some kind of daily practice. Practice grounds the information 
that the Enneagram provides in our daily experience, and it helps us 
return to the fundamental truths that the Enneagram is revealing to 
us. 

Combining knowledge of the Enneagram with spiritual practice 
consists of: 

1. Becoming present and aware as much as possible throughout 
the day 

2. Seeing your personality in action 

3. Not acting out your impulses 

These three elements underlie all the other tools and practices in 
this book. Whenever we become aware of an aspect of our personality, 
we can remember to breathe and relax as much as possible while con¬ 
tinuing to observe and contain our impulses until something shifts and 
our state changes. Analyzing what we find is not as important as aware¬ 
ness, relaxing the body, and not acting out. 

Even though the Enneagram is not itself a complete spiritual path, it 
offers immense insight to anyone who is on a spiritual or therapeutic 
path of any kind. The insights into human nature it provides, particu¬ 
larly when the specificity of the Levels of Development are taken into 
account, are so “on target” that they cannot help but catalyze our growth. 



3 4 4 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


‘‘One of our problems today is 
that we are not well acquainted 
with the literature of the spirit. 
We’re interested in the news of 
the day and the problems of the 
hour.” 


Joseph Campbell 


“Meditation is not a way to 
enlightenment nor is it a method 
of achieving anything at all. It is 
peace and blessedness itself,” 

Dogen 


CHOOSING A PRACTICE 

The great religions of the world have provided a multittide of prac¬ 
tices for personal transformation; so have modern psychology, the self- 
help movement, and contemporary spiritual thinkers. No matter what 
practice we choose—whether it is meditation, prayer, yoga, reading 
inspirational books, or another—there are three criteria for assessing its 
helpfulness for transformation. 

First, does the practice assist us to become more mindful, awake, and 
open to our lives—or is it actually supporting our cherished illusions 
about ourselves, even negative ones? Does it cultivate a sense of Presence 
and emphasize the importance of being in contact with our life here and 
now? 

Second, does it support us in exploring some of the uncomfort¬ 
able aspects and limitations of our personality? Many paths offer a 
kind of “spiritual glamour,” reassuring followers that they are some¬ 
how separate from and better than the mass of humanity and that 
they can soon expect to receive grandiose, cosmic powers. While 
attaining extraordinary powers is always possible, they are more often 
a distracting sidetrack than a mark of genuine realization. (On the 
other hand, any path that is continually shaming or judging us is also 
probably unbalanced.) 

Third, does the path encourage us to think for ourselves? Growth 
comes from the desire to look more deeply into our own natures as well 
as into the nature of reality. Ready-made answers from gurus or hide¬ 
bound doctrines of any sort discourage this process. Such “answers” may 
soothe our personality for a while, covering over our deeper anxieties and 
wounds, but their limitation is usually exposed when a real crisis comes 
along. 

In fact, life is our greatest teacher. Whatever we are doing can be 
instructive, whether we are at the office, or talking to our spouse, or 
driving a car on the freeway. If we are present to our experiences, the 
impressions of our activities will be fresh and alive, and we will always 
learn something new from them. But if we are not present, every 
moment will be like every other, and nothing of the preciousness of life 
will touch us. 

No single psychological tool or spiritual practice is right for every¬ 
one at all times. Our different states and conditions often require dif¬ 
ferent choices. Sometimes our minds and hearts may be quiet, and we 
can easily engage in meditation, contemplation, or visualizations. At 
other times, we will be tired and find that we cannot meditate; at such 
times perhaps prayer or chanting, or a walking meditation, will be more 
helpful. 

What type we are will also probably influence which practices we 



THE ENNEAGRAM AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 


3 4 S 


will be attracted to. For example, the withdrawn types (Fours, Fives, 
and Nines), which are out of touch with their bodies, can benefit 
greatly from walking meditation, yoga, stretching, or even jogging. But 
because they often prefer more sedentary practices, people of these 
types might argue that these approaches do not count. 

For Threes, Sevens, and Eights—the assertive types—getting in 
touch with their hearts through loving-kindness meditation and acts of 
charity may not match their idea of spiritual practice but can be invalu¬ 
able. Similarly, these action-oriented people may think of meditation as 
“just sitting around and doing nothing.” 

Ones, Twos, and Sixes—the compliant types—might not consider 
going to a silent retreat or getting a massage to be spiritual. To these 
conscience-driven types, sitting in contemplation seems like the oppo¬ 
site of being dutifully concerned with the welfare of others. And yet 
anything done with attention can become the basis for a spiritual prac¬ 
tice if it grounds us in our body, quiets our mind, and opens our heart. 
The practices and approaches we describe here help us to come into 
balance with ourselves. 


"Prayer is not an old woman’s 
idle amusement. Properly under¬ 
stood and applied, it is the most 
potent instrument of action." 

Gandhi 


SEVEN TOOLS FOR TRANSFORMATION 

If we want to use the Enneagram on our journey of self-discovery, 
we are going to need more than interesting information about the nine 
types. This map of the soul can become useful only when we combine 
it with some other key ingredients. To this end, we offer seven tools 
that we have found to be indispensable for the spiritual journey. 

1. Seeking Truth. If we are interested in transformation, no element 
is more important than developing a love of truth. Seeking the truth 
means being curious about what is going on in ourselves and around us, 
not settling for the automatic answers that our personality feeds us. If we 
observe ourselves, we will see that many of the stock explanations that we 
give ourselves for our behavior or for the actions of others are a form of 
resistance. They are a way of avoiding seeing more deeply into our current 
state. For example, one stock answer might be "I am really angry at my 
father,” but a deeper truth might be “I really love him and desperately 
want his love.” Both levels of truth might be difficult for our personality 
to accept. It could take a long time to admit that we are angry with our 
father—and even longer to acknowledge the love beneath the anger. 

As we learn to accept what is real in the present moment, we are more 
able to accept whatever arises in us, because we know that it is not the whole 
of us. The truth encompasses both our fearful reactions and the greater 
resources of our soul. While our automatic reactions can derail our search 
for the truth, acknowledging their presence brings us closer to the truth. 


“Inner freedom is not guided 
by our efforts; it comes from see¬ 
ing what is true.” 

Buddha 


“You will know the truth, and 
the truth will make you free.” 

Jesus of Nazareth 



3 4 6 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


“When Michelangelo was asked 
how he created a piece of 
sculpture, he answered that the 
statue already existed within the 
marble. . . . Michelangelo’s job, 
as he saw it, was to get rid of the 
excess marble that surrounded 
God’s creation. 

So it is with you. The perfect 
you isn’t something you need to 
create, because God already 
created it. . . . Your job is to 
allow the Holy Spirit to remove 
the fearful thinking that surrounds 
your perfect self.” 

Marianne Williamson 


“Each object manifests some 
power of Allah. His joy or His 
anger. His love or His magnificence 
emanates through these objects. 
That is why we are attracted or 
repelled.There is no end to these 
manifestations so long as the 
process of creation exists.” 

Sheikh Tosun Bayrak 
al-Jerrahi al-Halveti 


When we are willing to be with the whole truth—whatever it is—we have 
more inner resources available to deal with whatever we are facing. 

2. “Not Doing. ” The process of transformation sometimes seems 
paradoxical because we speak of struggle and effort as well as of allow¬ 
ing, accepting, and letting go. The resolution of these apparent oppo¬ 
sites lies in the concept of “not doing.” Once we understand “not 
doing,” we see that the real struggle is to relax into greater awareness so 
that we can see the manifestations of our personality. By neither acting on 
our automatic impulses nor suppressing them, we begin to understand 
what is causing them to arise. (An example can be found in Dons story 
in the Preface.) Not acting on our impulses creates openings through 
which we can catch glimpses of what we are really up to. Those 
glimpses often become some of our most important lessons. 

3. Willing to Be Open. One of the primary functions of the per¬ 
sonality is to separate us from various aspects of our own true nature. 
It causes us to limit our experience of ourselves by blocking from 
awareness any parts of ourselves that do not fit our self-image. By relax¬ 
ing our bodies, quieting the chatter in our minds, and allowing our 
hearts to be more sensitive to our situation, we open up to the very 
inner qualities and resources that can help us grow. 

Every moment has the possibility of delighting us, nurturing us, 
supporting us— if we are here to see it. Life is a tremendous gift, but 
most of us are missing it because we are watching a mental movie of our 
lives instead. As we learn to trust in the moment and to value awareness, 
we learn how to turn off the internal movie projector and start living a 
much more interesting life—the one we are actually starring in. 

4. Getting Proper Support. The more support we have for our Inner 
Work, the easier our process will be. If we are living or working in dys¬ 
functional environments, Inner Work is not impossible, but it is more 
difficult. Most of us cannot leave our jobs or our families so easily, even if 
we are having difficulties with them, although we can seek out others who 
give us encouragement and act as witnesses to our growth. Beyond this, 
we can find groups, attend workshops, and put ourselves in situations 
that foster our real development. Getting support also entails structuring 
our days in ways that leave room for the practices that nurture our souls. 

5. Learning from Everything. Once we have involved ourselves in 
the process of transformation, we understand that whatever is occur¬ 
ring in the present moment is what we need to deal with right now. 
And whatever is arising in our hearts or minds is the raw material that 
we can use for our growth. It is an extremely common tendency to flee 
from what we are actually facing into our imagination, romanticizing 
or dramatizing our situation, justifying ourselves, or even escaping into 
“spirituality.” Staying with our real experience of ourselves and our sit¬ 
uation will teach us exactly what we need to know for growth. 



THE ENNEAGRAM AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 


3 4 7 


6. Cultivating a Real Love of Self. It has been said many times that 
we cannot love others if we do not love ourselves. But what does this 
mean? We usually think that it has something to do with having self¬ 
esteem or with giving ourselves emotional goodies to compensate for our 
feelings of deficiency. Perhaps, but one central aspect of a mature love of 
ourselves is caring about our growth sufficiently that we do not flee from 
the discomfort or pain of our actual condition. We must love ourselves 
enough not to abandon ourselves—and we abandon ourselves to the 
degree that we arc not fully present to our own lives. When we are caught 
up in worry, fantasy, tension, and anxiety, we become dissociated from 
our bodies and our feelings—and ultimately from our true nature. 

True love of self also entails a profound acceptance of ourselves— 
returning to Presence and settling into ourselves as we actually are with¬ 
out attempting to change our experience. It is also aided by seeking the 
company of people who possess some degree of this quality themselves. 

7. Having a Practice. Most spiritual teachings stress the impor¬ 
tance of some kind of practice, be it meditation, prayer, yoga, relax¬ 
ation, or movement. The important thing is to set aside some time each 
day to reestablish a deeper connection with our true nature. Regular 
practice (combined with participation in some kind of teaching or 
group) serves to remind us over and over again that we are hypnotized 
by our personality. Spiritual practice interferes with our deeply 
ingrained habits and gives us opportunities to wake up from our trance 
more often and for longer periods of time. Eventually we understand 
that every time we engage in our practice, we learn something new, and 
every time we neglect our practice, we miss an opportunity to allow our 
lives to be transformed. 

A major obstacle to regular practice is the expectation that we will 
attain a specific result. Ironically, this obstacle is a problem especially, if 
we have made significant breakthroughs with our practice. The person¬ 
ality seizes on breakthroughs and wants to re-create them on demand. 
But this is not possible because breakthroughs occur only when we are 
completely open to the present moment, while anticipating a certain 
payoff distracts us from such experiences. In this moment, a new gift or 
insight is available—although most likely not the one that was available 
last week. Furthermore, the personality may use our breakthroughs as 
justifications to stop practicing, saying, “Great! You’ve had a break¬ 
through! Now you’re ‘fixed’ and you don’t need to do this anymore.” 

Along with our regular daily practice, life presents us with many 
opportunities to see our personality in action and to allow our essential 
nature to come forth and transform our personality. But it is not 
enough merely to think about transformation or talk about it or read 
books about it. Procrastination is a great defense of the ego. The only 
time to use the tools of transformation is now. 


“At the heart of it, mastery is 
practice. Mastery is staying on the 
path.” 

George Leonard 



3 4 8 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


WALKING YOUR WALK 


If we are honest about being on a spiritual path, every day we must embody the truths that we under¬ 
stand—indeed, every moment of every day.We must learn to “walk our walk” in every area of our lives. And 
yet how are we to do this? Like everyone else (particularly at the beginning of our Work), we are riddled 
with bad habits, old wounds, and unresolved conflicts. Our intention alone to be on a spiritual path will not 
be enough to make much of a difference. 

Because of this problem, spiritual teachers throughout history have given guidelines to their followers. 
Buddha recommended that people follow what is known as the “Eightfold Path”—Right Understanding, Right 
Thoughts, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Endeavor, Right Mindfulness, and Right 
Concentration. Moses brought the Ten Commandments to help the Jewish people live according to God’s 
will. Christ upheld the Ten Commandments but also required of his followers that they live his two primary 
commandments—to "love God with your whole heart, and your neighbor as yourself.” Since the Enneagram 
is nondenominational, no theistic commandments or statutes of ethics are attached to it. However, the ques¬ 
tion remains: “What do we mean when we say that we are on a spiritual path?” 

In your Inner Work Journal, explore what this question means to you. What is your personal “minimum 
daily requirement" for being authentic about your spiritual work? What are your personal ideals in the mat¬ 
ter? What do you sincerely require of yourself? To what are you actually committing yourself when you are 
“walking the walk” of transformation and human liberation? 


Excuses—and More Excuses 


“One of the best means for 
arousing the wish to work on 
yourself is to realize that you may 
die at any moment.” 

Gurdjieff 


A common excuse for people embarking on this journey is that 
they do not have sufficient energy to run their lives and engage in trans¬ 
formational work at the same time. Actually, we are given more than 
enough energy to transform ourselves every day, but we waste 98 per¬ 
cent of it on tensions, on emotional reactions unrelated to what is actu¬ 
ally occurring, and on daydreaming and mental chatter. The fact is, our 
energy can go to one of two places: it may be poured into maintaining 
the structures of our personality, or if we disidentify with those struc¬ 
tures, it may be liberated for our development and growth. As we begin 
to experience the truth of this firsthand, we understand the necessity of 
building our spiritual bank account, learning to keep some life-force in 
reserve so that transformation can take place. 

Another major excuse for postponing inner work is due to the fact 
that our personality presents us with all sorts of “conditions” and 
“requirements” that interfere with our regular practice. (“I’ll get serious 
about meditating as soon as I get all the other problems in my life 
straightened out, when the temperature is exactly right, when there is 
no noise, and everyone leaves me in peace.”) 

Conditions and requirements are just a form of spiritual procrasti¬ 
nation, and if we listen to this inner voice, we may have a long wait, 
because the circumstances of our lives will never be perfect. Much as we 






THE ENNEAGRAM AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 


3 4 9 


“I WILL BECOME PRESENT TO MY LIFE 
ONLY WHEN ...” 

1 

“I have attained complete balance and integrity, make no mis¬ 
takes, and have everything in my world sensibly organized. 
When I have achieved perfection, then I’ll show up.” 

2 

“I am loved unconditionally by others and feel their love. 
When others totally appreciate my affection and sacrifices 
and meet all of my emotional needs, then I’ll show up.” 

3 

“I have accomplished enough to feel successful and worth¬ 
while. When I have all the admiration and attention I want 
and feel completely outstanding, then I’ll show up.” 

4 

“I have completely resolved all of my emotional issues and 
have found my true significance. When I am completely free 
to express all of my feelings with everyone whenever I want, 
then I’ll show up.” . 

5 

“I feel completely confident and capable of dealing with the 
world. When I have completely understood and mastered 
everything I might need to know in life, then I’ll show up.” 

6 

“I have enough support to feel completely secure and stable. 
When I have every area of my life handled and nothing can 
take me by surprise, then I’ll show up.” 

7 

“I am totally happy and fulfilled and certain that I’ve found 
what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. When I feel 
completely satisfied, then I’ll show up.” 

8 

“I am totally independent and do not have to rely on anyone 
for anything. When I feel completely in control of every¬ 
thing and my will is never challenged, then I’ll show up.” 

9 

“I am completely at peace and without conflicts or problems. 
When nothing in the world bothers or upsets me, and every¬ 
one in my world is happy and at peace, then I’ll show up.” 




3 5 0 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Vitality 

9 


Magnanimity 8 


Groundedness 


Confidence 



Patience 


2 Self-Respect 


3 Authenticity 


Tmst 5 


4 Inner Calm 


THE PAYOFFS OF PRACTICE 


would like to, we cannot control all of our external situa¬ 
tions. One thing we can do, however, is to show up regu¬ 
larly with Presence and awareness—the very thing that we 
most resist doing. 

As you can probably tell, most of our conditions for 
Presence are never going to be met, at least not to our satis¬ 
faction. The irony is that when we actually do show up, we 
find the very qualities that we have been looking for. This is 
because those qualities are part of the world of Essence, not 
personality, and Essence can be experienced only when we 
show up in the present moment. 

Finally, many of us resist opening more to life because we are afraid 
that if we become too healthy, people will not know how much we have been 
hurt. If we become healthy, we cannot continue to punish our parents 
(and other significant figures from our past) for making us suffer. If we 
are angry at a parent or a spouse, we overeat, or drink too much, or smoke 
to show them how unhappy we are. If we let these feelings dictate our 
lives, we have succeeded only in taking over the job of abusing ourselves. 


“There are many areas of 
growth (grief and other unfinished 
business, communication and 
maturing of relationships, sexual¬ 
ity and intimacy, career and work 
issues, certain fears and phobias, 
early wounds, and more) where 
good Western therapy is on the 
whole much quicker and more 
successful than meditation. These 
crucial aspects of our being can't 
be just written off as ‘personality 
stuff.’ Freud said he wanted to 
help people to love and work. If 
we can't love well and give mean¬ 
ingful work to the Earth; then 
what is our spiritual practice for? 
Meditation can help in these 
areas. But if, after sitting for a 
while, you discover that you still 
have work to do, find a good ther¬ 
apist or some other way to effec¬ 
tively address these issues.” 

Jack Kornfield 


The “Payoff” of Practice 

The qualities listed around the Enneagram are among the impor¬ 
tant payoffs—so to speak—we get for working on ourselves. The ego 
does not naturally possess any of these qualities (or “virtues,” in more 
traditional terms). They are, in fact, the opposite of the state we are ordi¬ 
narily in when we are identified with our personality. But when we 
learn to be present to the blockages to our Essence, these qualities start 
to emerge spontaneously and become available to us as they are 
needed—our ego does not direct their arising. We need do nothing 
(and in fact can do nothing) except see what stands in the way. 

Facing Addictions 

If toe are actively abusing medications, alcohol, or controlled substances, 
the transformational work we are discussing here will not be possible. If we 
have a substance abuse problem, we need to become “sober” on a regu¬ 
lar basis before we can sustain any in-depth inquiry into our true nature. 
If we are making it difficult for our bodies to function through abuse or 
neglect, it will be almost impossible to develop the sensitivity and atten¬ 
tion necessary to observe ourselves with any clarity. 

Fortunately, many resources are available to support us in break¬ 
ing free of various addictions, including books, workshops, support 
groups, therapy, and even inpatient care. The Enneagram is not 
intended to be a substitute for those resources, but combined with 




THE ENNEAGRAM AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 


3 S 


EATING DISORDERS AND ADDICTIONS OF THE TYPES 


1 

2 

3 

4 

5 

6 

7 

8 

9 


Excessive use of diets, vitamins, and cleansing techniques (fasts, diet pills, enemas). Undereating 
for self-control: in extreme cases, anorexia and bulimia. Alcohol to relieve tension. 


Abusing food and over-the-counter medications. Bingeing, especially on sweets and carbohy¬ 
drates. Overeating from feeling “love-starved.” Hypochondria to look for sympathy. 


Overstressing the body for recognition. Working out to exhaustion. Starvation diets. 
Workaholism. Excessive intake of coffee, stimulants, amphetamines, cocaine, or steroids, or 
excessive surgery for cosmetic improvement. 


Overindulgence in rich foods and sweets. Use of alcohol to alter mood, to socialize, and for 
emotional consolation. Lack of physical activity. Bulimia. Depressants. Tobacco, prescription 
drugs, or heroin for social anxiety. Cosmetic surgery to erase rejected features. 


Poor eating and sleeping habits due to minimizing needs. Neglect of hygiene and nutrition. 
Lack of physical activity. Psychotropic drugs for mental stimulation and escape, and narcotics 
and alcohol for anxiety. 


Rigidity in diet causes nutritional imbalances. (“I don’t like vegetables.”) Working excessively. 
Caffeine and amphetamines for stamina, but also alcohol and depressants to deaden anxiety. 
Higher susceptibility to alcoholism than many types. 


The type most prone to addictions: stimulants (caffeine, cocaine, and amphetamines), Ecstasy, 
psychotropics, narcotics, and alcohol. Tendency to avoid other depressants. Wear body out with 
effort to stay “up.” Excessive cosmetic surgery, painkillers. 


Ignoring physical needs and problems; avoiding medical visits and checkups. Indulging in rich 
foods, alcohol, tobacco while pushing self too hard, leading to high stress, stroke, and heart con¬ 
dition. Control issues are central, although alcoholism and narcotic addictions are possible. 

Overeating or undereating due to lack of self-awareness and repressed anger. Lack of physical 
activity. Depressants and psychorropics, alcohol, marijuana, narcotics to deaden loneliness and 
anxiety. 




3 5 2' T 


“The remarkable thing is that 
we really love our neighbor as 
ourselves: we do unto others as 
we do unto ourselves. We hate 
others when we hate ourselves. 
We are tolerant toward others 
when we tolerate ourselves.” 

Eric Hoffer 


E WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

them, it can be extremely helpful in understanding the roots of an 
addictive pattern. 

All nine types can have any kind of addiction, and all nine types can be 
codependent. We do find some tendencies toward certain addictions in the 
Enneagram types, however, and we offer the following correlations as a 
beginning guideline. They are not all-inclusive and are not intended to 
be a complete discussion of this complex problem. (You will also be sus¬ 
ceptible to the eating disorders and addictions shown in the box on page 
351 for the type in your Direction of Disintegration, or stress, as well.) 


WORKING WITH THE SUPEREGO 

The superego is the inner voice that is always putting us down for 
not living up to certain standards or rewarding our ego when we fulfill 
its demands. When we comply with our superego, it pats us on the 
back, saying, “Good boy! (or girl!)” That was the right thing to do!” 
But when we do something that our superego disapproves of, it con¬ 
demns us—this time in the first person. (“Look at what I’ve done! I can 
just imagine what those people must think of me!” “If I try that. I’m 
bound to fail again.”) 

If we rephrase these inner criticisms, replacing “I” with “you,” we 
may recognize them as the harsh words that were first directed at us in 
our childhood. In fact, the superego is the “internalized voice” of our 
parents and other authority figures, both old and new. Its original 
function was to make us behave in ways that we believed would keep 
our parents loving and protecting us. We unconsciously identified with 
these voices and incorporated them into ourselves so that we would not 
run the risk of losing our parents’ love and support. Rather than have 
our parents punish us (and therefore have to deal with the suffering 
that would cause), we learned to punish ourselves instead. 

The problem is that even the parts of the superego that may have 
been useful when we were two years old are probably not very useful to 
us today. Nonetheless, these voices are just as powerful now as they 
were then but usually do more harm than good-—alienating us again 
and again from our true nature. In fact, our superego is one of the most 
powerful agents of the personality: it is the “inner critic” that keeps us 
restricted to certain limited possibilities for ourselves. 

A large part of our initial transformational work centers on becom¬ 
ing more aware of the superego’s “voice” in its many guises, both posi¬ 
tive and negative. Its voices continually draw us back into identifying 
with our personality and acting out in self-defeating ways. When we 
are present, we are able to hear our superego voices without identifying 
with them; we are able to see the stances and positions of the superego 



THE ENNEAGRAM AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 


3 5 3 


THE “MARCHING ORDERS” OF THE NINE TYPES 


Marching Order 

Contradiction 


“You are good or okay 
if you do what is 
right.” 

Sounds reasonable, but how do you know what is “right”? Who 

1 

says so? Is your set of standards objective or subjective? Where did 
these ideas come from? Ones struggle to be good, but they are 
never good enough for their own superegos. 


“You are good or okay 

Why does your value depend on someone loving you, and how do 


if you are loved by 

you know if they do? Even if they don’t, what has that got to do 


others and close to 

with you? Twos struggle to get closer to others but still feel 


them.” 

unloved. 

3 

“You are good or okay 

What makes you think that a particular activity makes you valu¬ 
able? Why do you have to do something to feel valuable? How 

lr you do something 
valuable.” 

much do you have to accomplish to be worthwhile? Threes are 
often overachievers who feel empty inside. 


4 

“You are good or okay 

What does it mean to be “true to yourself”? What is this self that 
some other part is being “true” to? Does it mean holding on to old 

ir you are true to 
yourself.” 

reactions and feelings? Fours try so hard to be unique that they cut 
off many of life’s options. 


“You are good or 

How do you know when you have fully mastered something? 

5 

okay if you have 

When are you finished? How does what you are mastering relate to 

thoroughly mastered 

the real needs in your life? Fives work on a subject or skill for many 


. something.” 

years and still lack self-confidence. 


“You are good or okay 
if you cover all the 
bases and do what is 

How can you cover all the bases? Is all your scurrying around and 
worry really making you feel more secure? Is doing what’s ex- 

6 

pected of you really meaningful to you? Sixes struggle to build up 
situations they can feel secure in, but they still feel anxious and . 


expected of you. 

fearful. 


“You are good or okay 

Can you distinguish a need from a want? Would you still be okay 

7 

if you feel good and 

if a particular need were not met? If so, is it really a need? Sevens 

are getting what you 

pursue the things they believe will bring them satisfaction, but they 


want.” 

still feel unsatisfied and frustrated. 


“You are good or okay 

When do you know that you are strong and protected? How much 

8 

as long as you are 

control do you need? Is your drive for control really enhancing your 

strong and in control 

sense of well-being? Eights pursue more and more control but still 


of your situation.” 

don’t feel safe. 


“You are good or 

How can you ensure that everyone is really okay? How do you 

9 

okay as long as every- 

know that they are okay? Why is your well-being dependent on the 

one around you is 

prior well-being and happiness of others? The impossibility of this 


good or okay.” 

task leads Nines to “tune out” problems. 



3 5 4 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


as if they were characters in a play waiting in the wings, ready to jump 
in and control or attack us once again. When we are present, we hear 
the superego’s voice but do not give it any energy; the “all-powerful” 
voice then becomes just another aspect of the moment. 

However, we must also be on the lookout for the formation of 
new layers of superego that come from our psychological and spiritual 
work. We might call these the spiritual superego or the therapy super¬ 
ego. Instead of berating ourselves with the voices of our parents, we 
berate ourselves with the voices of Buddha or Jesus or Muhammad or 
Freud or our therapist! In fact, one of the biggest dangers that we face 
in using the Enneagram is our superegos tendency to “take over” our 
work and start criticizing us, for example, for not moving up the 
Levels of Development or going in the Direction of Integration fast 
enough. The more we are present, however, the more we will recog¬ 
nize the irrelevance of these voices and successfully resist giving them 
energy. Eventually, they lose their power, and we can regain the space 
and quiet we need to be receptive to other, more life-giving forces 
within us. 

The Superego’s “Marching Orders” 

Before that happens, we need to become aware of the superego’s 
“marching orders.” These marching orders, the meat and potatoes of 
our mental life, dictate most of our ordinary activities. Initially, some 
of these messages sound quite reasonable. (One of the hallmarks of 
superego messages is that they will make you feel “normal” but con¬ 
stricted.) However, if we listen more closely, we may see that they are 
not only arbitrary and subjective but also coercive and damaging. They 
present us with increasingly impossible standards to live up to, for 
which we always pay a heavy price. If we feel anxious, depressed, lost, 
hopeless, fearhil, wretched, or weak, we can be sure that our superego 
is on duty. 

Healing Attitudes 

Another way we can begin to free ourselves from our superego is by 
becoming more aware of our automatic reactions to problems or con¬ 
flicts—and then contemplating a “healing attitude.” We have listed 
some hedling attitudes for each of the nine types. 

For one week, explore the healing attitude of your own type. See 
what it brings up for you in your relationships, at work, at home, and 
so forth. It may be helpful to record your observations in your Inner 
Work Journal. You may later wish to explore the healing attitudes of 
the other types. 



THE ENNEAGRAM AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 355 


HEALING ATTITUDES FOR THE TYPES 

1 

Maybe others are right. Maybe someone else has a better idea. Maybe others will learn for 
themselves. Maybe I’ve done all that can be done. 

2 

Maybe I could let someone else do this. Maybe this person is actually already showing me love 
in their own way. Maybe I could do something good for myself, too. 

3 

Maybe I don’t have to be the best. Maybe people will accept me just the way I am. Maybe 
others’ opinions of me aren’t so important. 

4 

Maybe there’s nothing wrong with me. Maybe others do understand me and are supporting 
me. Maybe I’m not the only one who feels this way. 

5 

Maybe I can trust people and let them know what I need. Maybe I can live happily in the 
world. Maybe my future will be okay. 

6 

Maybe this will work out fine. Maybe I don’t have to foresee every possible problem. Maybe I 
can trust myself and my own judgments. 

7 

Maybe what I already have is enough. Maybe there’s nowhere else 1 need to be right now. 
Maybe I’m not missing out on anything worthwhile. 

8 

Maybe this person isn’t out to take advantage of me. Maybe I can let down my guard a little 
more. Maybe 1 could let my heart be touched more deeply. 

9 

Maybe I can make a difference. Maybe I need to get energized and be involved. Maybe I am 
more powerful than I realize. 


WORKING WITH THE BODY 

The body is extremely important for Inner Work, because it is a 
reliable reality check in ways that our minds and emotions (the other 
two centers) cannot be. This is because, as we mentioned earlier, the 
body is always here, in the present moment. Our minds or feelings can 
be anyplace—imagining the future, dwelling on the past, or ruminat¬ 
ing on a fantasy—but our body is always here and now. It cannot be 
anywhere else. Therefore, if we are aware of the sensations of our bod¬ 
ies, it is a solid piece of evidence that we are present. 



3 5 6 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


Eating Consciously 

Most people have been exposed to the idea that a good diet and fre¬ 
quent, regular exercise are essential to a healthy life; yet we often forget 
these simple truths when we talk about psychological or spiritual 
growth. When we eat sensibly and get sufficient exercise and rest, our 
emotions are steadier and our minds are clearer, and our transformative 
processes go much more smoothly. 

It is often difficult to be conscious and mindful of our eating habits. 
In fact, our ways of taking in food are among the most deeply habitual 
and unconscious aspects of our personality. Yet as we become more aware 
of how we eat, we often find that our personality leads us to eat much 
more (or much less) than our body requires. We may eat too quickly 
without tasting any of our food, of we may dawdle over it. We also may 
eat many things that actually disagree with us and be attracted to foods 
that do not serve our physical well-being. While many valuable diet plans 
and health regimens are available, clearly different kinds of people need 
to emphasize different things in their diets. For some, vegetarianism or a 
macrobiotic diet enhances their functioning and sense of well-being. 
Others require a high-protein diet. As in everything else, awareness can 
bring an intelligence and sensitivity to our eating patterns. 

Relaxation 

Perhaps the most important technique for getting in touch with 
the body and its energies is learning how to relax fully so that we can 
make deeper contact with each moment. Relaxation is not just some¬ 
thing we do in yoga class or during meditation—it is a quality that we 
can bring to anything that we do. We can do anything in our lives from 
a place of centeredness and relaxation or from a state of being frantic 
and having inner tension. Basically, conscious relaxation is a matter of 
learning how to come back to the here and now again and again, open¬ 
ing up to a deeper and deeper impression of reality. 

Many of us confuse numbness with relaxation, when in fact they 
are polar opposites. We may think that if we do not feel any soreness 
or tension, we must be relaxed. However, when our muscular tension 
is severe and long-standing, our body deals with it by numbing the 
muscles in question. In most of us, our tensions are so long-standing 
that much of our body has become numb and we no longer feel our body. 
We are literally walking around in painful knots of all kinds, but our 
numbness covers over the discomfort they cause. But as long as we are 
not feeling these tensions, they are not going to be released, and they 
eventually wear down our health and vitality. 

Paradoxically, the more relaxed we become, the more we will real- 



THE ENNEAGRAM AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 


3 S 7 


WORKING WITH THE BODY 


There are a number of worthwhile approaches to working with the body, ranging from massage, acupunc¬ 
ture, and yoga to dance, tai chi, and martial arts. Any of these can be useful, but for them to have long-range 
effectiveness, you need to consider two things. 

► How does your body respond to this treatment or practice? Do you feel more comfortable in your 
body? Does it enhance your flexibility? Is it easier for you to be present to yourself and your surroundings? 

► Is this treatment or practice something that you can commit to doing for a while? Is it something that 
you will stick with long enough to achieve some lasting benefit? 


ize how tense our bodies actually are. This can be confusing, because 
our first experiences of relaxation will cause us to feel more uncomfortable. 
Our first reaction will therefore be to want to become numb again, but 
our liberation requires that we stay present to whatever we find— 
including our tensions. When we do so with persistence, we find that 
our tensions miraculously begin to dissolve, and our personality 
becomes lighter and more flexible. 

Seeing how easily we numb out, how do we know if we are truly 
relaxed? The answer is surprisingly simple: we are relaxed to the degree 
that we can experience sensations from all parts of our body in the present 
moment. To the degree that we do not experience the sensations of our 
body, we are tense and are not present. To be relaxed is to feel an unin¬ 
terrupted flow of sensation through the body, from the top of our head 
to the bottom of our feet. Relaxation entails having full awareness of the 
self and the environment—to be in the river of Presence and Being. We 
fitlly occupy our body: we experience both the front and back of it and 
everything in between. But make no mistake—this kind of freedom, 
relaxation, and flow are the result of many years of consistent practice. 


CULTIVATING THE QUIET MIND 

If we become even a little more aware of ourselves, we will notice a 
constant reality: our minds are always chattering! There is barely a 
moment in our waking day in which some form of inner dialogue, 
commentary, or judgment is not going on. But who is talking to 
whom, and why? 

One powerful reason that we talk to ourselves is to figure out what 
to do next. We talk to ourselves to assess our situation, to rehearse our 
responses to future events, or to replay events of the past. But with 
our attention taken up by this nonstop inner chatter, we cannot hear 





3 5 8 T 


"Pay no attention [to your 
thoughts]. Don't fight them. Just 
do nothing about them, let them 
be, whatever they are. Your very 
fighting them gives them life. Just 
disregard. Look through.You need 
not stop thinking. Just cease being 
interested. Stop your routine of 
acquisitiveness, your habit of look¬ 
ing for results and the freedom of 
the universe is yours.” 

Nisargadatta 


“Good-humored patience is 
necessary with mischievous chil¬ 
dren and your own mind.” 

Robert Aitkin Roshi 


HE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

our own inner wisdom. The personality drowns it out. It is a bit like 
frantically looking around our home for our keys and suddenly realiz¬ 
ing that they are in our pocket. 

Nonetheless, the idea of quieting the mind initially strikes most of 
us as strange. We may believe that stopping our stream of mental asso¬ 
ciations will be boring—that everything will be similar and dull. But 
once again the opposite is actually true. It is the repetitive quality of our 
ordinary thinking patterns and of our predictable preoccupations that 
render the world dull, boring, and apparently lifeless. More importantly, 
our ongoing mental chatter blocks out the very impressions of life that 
we need for our growth and realization. For this reason, it is important 
to distinguish between “monkey mind”—inner chatter, worry, aimless 
imagination, visualizing future scenarios, or reliving past ones—and 
quiet mind, the mysterious space from which our knowing arises. 

As we become more relaxed and aware, we understand that the 
“normal” way our mind operates is trancelike, unfocused, and chaotic, 
whereas the quiet mind has qualities of sobriety, clarity, and steadiness. 
In short, when our minds become more still and silent, our intelligence 
becomes aligned with a greater intelligence that understands our situa¬ 
tion objectively and sees exactly what we need to do or not do. We are 
alert and attentive to everything around us. Our senses are sharp, colors 
and sounds are vivid—everything seems eternally fresh and alive. 

Many meditation practices are designed to silence the inner chatter 
and bring about a more quiet, expansive mind. Centuries ago, Buddhist 
meditation practitioners identified two kinds of mind-quieting medita¬ 
tion. The first is called vipassana, or insight meditation, which develops 
our ability to be aware of whatever we are experiencing nonjudgmentally 
and with a simple openness. We allow thoughts and impressions to pass 
through our awareness without becoming attached to them. 

The second branch of meditation is called samata, and it develops the 
capacities of concentration and focus. In these practices, we learn to focus 
on repeated sounds or syllables ( mantra ) or on an inner visualization or 
sacred image or diagram ( mandala ). The meditator learns to discipline 
the mind by concentrating on the sound or image to the exclusion of all 
other thoughts. Although both of these approaches can be extremely 
valuable in the cultivation of quiet mind, we feel that vipassana, insight 
meditation, works particularly well in combination with the Enneagram 
as a way of nonjudgmentally observing our personality at work. 

The Art of “Not Knowing” 

One of the main tools for entering into the vivid immediacy of 
quiet mind is “not knowing.” Ordinarily, our minds are filled with all 
kinds of opinions about who we are, what we are doing, what is impor- 



THE ENNEAGRAM AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 


3 5 


A CENTERING MEDITATION 


The following is an example of the insight style of mindfulness meditation. It is based on simple guide¬ 
lines—staying with the impressions and sensations of the moment, following the breath, and staying in 
contact with the environment while keeping silent. Feel free to experiment and see what works best for you. 

Select a place to sit where you can feel relaxed, open, and comfortable. The posture with which you begin 
makes a differetice, because you want to be quietly attentive, and a tense posture will make this difficult. It 
is often helpful to sit with your feetflat on the floor with your neck and back straight but not tensed You 
may want to loosen your shoulders so that your arms hang freely. If you tvish, you can close your eyes. You 
want to sit in a way that honors the long rich tradition of meditation from all the religious paths of the 
world and the central place it occupies for all the great souls who have embarked on this journey. 

Once you have found a posture that allows you to be open, relaxed, and attentive, you take two or 
three deep breaths, drawing air deep down into your belly and letting it out slowly. Inhale several times, 
allowing your chest to fill up with air, then exhale, releasing tension from your body. As you do this, 
whatever stress and anxiety you feel begins to let go and you begin to become quieter inside. 

As you become more quiet and as the voices in your head fade a bit, you may begin to notice differ¬ 
ent things about yourself and your surroundings. You may become more aware of being here in this 
place now. You may become aware of the sounds, smells, and temperature around you. You also may 
begin to be aware of your actual presence as you sit, and that your presence has a particular quality. 
Simply "check in” with your own experience more deeply. There is no place you are trying to get to, no 
finish Ime, no particular way that you are supposed to be, no inspiration or “spiritualfeeling” you need 
to have. Just be aware of yourselfas you are. If you are tired, you can be aware of your tiredness. If you 
are agitated, you can be aware of your agitation. 

What impressions atid sensations are coming to your body right now? Canyon feel yourself sitting in 
your chair? Are you aware of your feet on the floor? What do they feel like right now? Are they cold or 
warm, tense or relaxed, tingling or without sensation? What is your presence like right now? Is it fast 
and revved up? Is it quiet and expansive? Is it thick and heavy or light and flowing? 

As you continue to relax, certain tensions that you may be holding in your body begin to reveal them¬ 
selves, maybe in a certain way you are holding your face, a certain tilt or cocking of the head and the 
neck. Your shoulders may be scrunched or out of balance ivith each other. Some parts of your body may 
feel blocked or numb. As you notice these things, do not react to them or try to change them in any ivay: 
simply allow your awareness to enter them more deeply. 

Continue to sit silently observing yourself and your thoughts, deepening your ability to settle into 
yourself, fidly inhabiting this moment, fully tasting your presence, and allowing something more pro¬ 
found and more essential in yourself to arise. 

If you are new to meditation, begin by practicing for about ten minutes a day, ideally in the morning 
before your day gets under way. As you become more comfortable with the process, you may wish to 
extend the length of your meditation. In fact, the more you acquire the habit of daily meditation, the 
more you will probably want to increase your meditation time, since being in intimate contact with our 
Essential nature restores us in profound ways while laying the ground for bigger personal breakthroughs. 
Meditation becomes a respite and an oasis that we want to visit rather than something we have to do. 




3 6 0 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


“The greatest deception men 
suffer is from their own opinions." 

Leonardo da Vinci 


"Only when the mind is 
tranquil—through self-knowledge 
and not through imposed self- 
discipline—only then, in that tran¬ 
quillity, in that silence, can reality 
come into being. It is only then 
that there can be bliss, that there 
can be creative action.’’ 

Krishnamurti 


“Your mind cannot possibly 
understand God. Your heart 
already knows. Minds were 
designed for carrying out the 
orders of the heart." 

Emmanuel 


tant and noc important, what is right and wrong, and how things ought 
to turn out. Because our mind is full of opinions and old thoughts, it 
has no internal space for a fresh impression of the real world around us. 
We learn nothing new. This also prevents us from really seeing other 
people—especially the people we love. We imagine that we really know 
people or even what they are thinking. .Many of us know from experi¬ 
ence, though, that to experience freshly someone we know can in¬ 
stantly transform our state and theirs. In some cases, this can save a 
relationship. 

“Not knowing” involves suspending our opinions and letting our 
curiosity within the realm of quiet mind take the lead. We begin to 
trust a deeper wisdom in ourselves—knowing that what we need to 
know will arise if we remain curious and receptive. We all know what 
it is like when we are trying to solve a problem and cannot come to a 
solution by thinking more about it. Eventually, we give up and do 
something else, and then when we are relaxed and no longer puzzling 
over it, the answer pops into our head. The same is true for creative 
inspiration. Where do these insights come from? They come from the 
quiet mind. When we stop depending on the mental strategies that our 
egos have adopted for our survival, our “not knowing” becomes an 
invitation—a magnet that attracts higher knowledge to us in ways that 
can rapidly transform us. 


OPENING THE HEART 

Change and transformation do not—and cannot—occur without 
emotional transformation, without the heart being touched. We feel 
the call to transformation in our hearts, and only our hearts can answer. 
What moves us is “E-motion,” the movement of our Essence, the 
movement of love. If our heart is closed, no matter how much spiritual 
knowledge we have accumulated, we will not be able to respond to the 
call; nor will our knowledge make any real difference in our lives. 

An open heart enables us to participate fully in our experiences and to 
connect in a real way with the people in our lives. From our hearts, we 
“taste” our experiences and are able to discern what is true and valuable. 
In this respect, we might say that it is the heart, not the mind, that knows. 

Healing Our Grief 

The process of transforming the heart can be difficult because as we 
open it, we inevitably encounter our own pain and become more aware 
of the pain of others. In fact, much of our personality is designed to 
keep us from experiencing this suffering. We close down the sensitivity 



THE ENNEAGRAM AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 


3 6 I 


of our hearts so that we can block our pain and get on with things, but 
we are never entirely successful in avoiding it. Often, we are aware of 
our suffering just enough to make ourselves and everyone around us 
miserable. Carl Jung’s famous dictum that “neurosis is the substitute for 
legitimate suffering” points to this truth. But if we are not willing to 
experience our own hurt and grief, it can never be healed. Shutting out 
our real pain also renders us unable to feel joy, compassion, love, or any 
of the other capacities of the heart. 

The point of this is not to wallow in our sorrows. Spiritual work is 
not designed to make us masochists: the idea is to transform our suf¬ 
fering, not to prolong it. We do not need to take on any additional suf¬ 
fering; rather, we need to explore the roots of the suffering that we 
already have. We need to look beneath the defenses of our personality 
and to explore the fears and hurts that are driving us. As we have seen, 
the more suffering we carry from our past, the more rigid and control¬ 
ling our personality structures will be, but they are not invincible. And 
despite what we may believe, our pain, though severe, can be relieved 
if we are willing to explore it a little at a time. 

Fortunately, our Essence supports us in this difficult process of 
exploring the pain and fear underlying our personality. Whenever we 
are willing to explore the truth of our immediate experience without 
conditions or judgments, the Essential quality of compassion naturally 
arises and healing follows. 

Compassion is not the same as sentimentality or sympathy or self- 
pity. Rather, it is an aspect of Divine love that melts all defenses and 
resistance when anyone’s suffering is really seen. There is nothing the 
personality can do to create compassion, but when we are willing to be 
completely open and truthful about whatever we are truly feeling, it 
arises naturally and soothes our hurt. (We could say that truth without 
compassion is not really truth, and that compassion without truth is 
not really compassion.) 

The Divine love that seeks to express itself in the world through us 
is a powerful force that can break through all of the old barriers and 
untruths that have accumulated in us. While we are certainly going to 
encounter considerable sadness and pain during the process of our 
Inner Work, it is immeasurably important to remember that love lies 
behind it all, both as the motivating energy and as the end toward 
which we are drawn. 


“It seems impossible to love 
people who hurt and disappoint 
us.Yet there are no other kinds of 
people.” 

Frank Andrews 


“Don't you know that the 
original soul came out of the 
essence of God, and that every 
human soul is a part of God? And 
will you have no mercy on Him, 
when you see that one of His holy 
sparks has been lost in a maze, 
and is almost stifled?" 

Rabbi Shmelke of 
Nikolsburg 


About Forgiveness 

One of the most important elements of spiritual progress is the 
willingness and ability to let go of the past, and this inevitably means 
wrestling with the problem of forgiving those who have hurt us in var- 



3 


2 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


AFFIRMATIONS OF FORGIVENESS 


I am willing to be willing to forgive myself for my mistakes. 

I am willhig to forgive myself for my mistakes. 

Iforgive myself for my mistakes. 

I see my mistakes as opportunities for learning discernment and patience. 

I thank life for giving me opportunities to become more wise and accepting. 

Iam willing to be willing to forgive my parents. 

I am willing to forgive my parents. 

I forgive my parents. 

I see my parents as my teachers and my guides. 

I thank life for giving me such good teachers for my development. 

I am willing to be willing to forgive those who have hurt me. * 

Iam willing to forgive those who have hurt me. 

I forgive those who have hurt me. 

I see the hurt I have suffered as an opportunity to learn compassion. 

I thank life for giving me a spirit that is forgiving and compassionate. 

Iam willing to be willing to let go of my pain and suffering. 

Iam willing to let go of my pain and suffering. 

I let go of my pain and suffering. 

I see my pain and suffering as places where my heart is open and alive. 

I thank life for endowing me with a sensitive, open heart. 

I am willing to be willing to let go of the limitations of my past. 

I am willing to let go of the limitations of my past. 

I let go of the limitations of my past. 

I see my past as what needed to happen for me to become me. 

I thank life for allowing me to be me through my past. 


* You may, of course, substitute a specific name in this passage. For instance, “I am willing to be will¬ 
ing to forgive-You may also compose your own affirmations in this form, as the need arises. 

Begin each set of statements with “I am willing to be willing to . .Then narrow down the conditional 
quality of each succeeding statement until, in the third statement, you let go of the thing that has been 
holding you back. In the fourth statement, indicate a positive quality in the situation, and in the fifth, 
give thanks for having it happen to you. In the greater scheme of things, it may have been a blessing in 
disguise, or one of the most important formative experiences of your life. 





THE ENNEAGRAM AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 


3 6 3 


ious ways. But how can we let go of hurts and resentments that bind 
us to our old identities and prevent us from moving on with our lives? 
Again, we cannot simply “decide” to forgive, any more than we can 
“decide” to be loving. Rather, forgiveness arises from our Essential 
nature and comes from a deeper understanding of the truth of our sit¬ 
uation. It entails recognizing what is happening in ourselves and others 
at a deeper level than we have previously seen. It requires that we fully 
experience the depth of our resentment, hatred, and vindictiveness and 
our desire for revenge—without acting out these impulses. By explor¬ 
ing the background of our feelings about the person with whom we are 
angry and seeing precisely how these feelings are manifesting in us right 
now, we begin to loosen the structures that hold our resentments in 
place. Presence fills us and releases us from our bondage to the past. 


“Love your enemies, bless 
them that curse you, do good to 
them that hate you, and pray for 
them that use and persecute you." 

Jesus of Nazareth 


THE ENNEAGRAM OF LETTING GO 


After years of reflection on the transformative process, the two of 
us began to see that we spontaneously followed a particular sequence 
whenever we successfully observed and let go of a defensive reaction or 
limiting pattern. We saw that the letting-go part could not occur 
simply through our intention to get rid of a troublesome habit. It was 
not a matter of willpower. Nonetheless; there were many times when 
particular habits or reactions dropped away spontaneously—or so it 
seemed—and we wanted to find out what ingredients made it easier to 
let go of them. Because we knew, thanks to Gurdjiefif, that the 
Enneagram can also be used as a process model, we organized our obser¬ 
vations around the Enneagram symbol and created what we call The 
Enneagram of Letting Go. 

“The Enneagram of Letting Go” is a practice that you can use at 
any time. It proceeds through nine steps corresponding to the nine 
points around the circumference of the Enneagram, although these steps 
are not directly related to the personality types. The diagrams at right 
illustrates the nine-step process. (Notice the first four start with 
“s,” the second four with “r.”) 

The process always begins with point Nine, to which we have 
assigned the quality of Presence. Unless we have some degree of Reconnect 7 
Presence, we will not be able to take even the first step. Presence 
allows us to see that we are in a state of identification in the first 
place. 

Note that we must complete each point before we are able to 
move on to the next, and that the process is cumulative: we bring 
the qualities of the previous steps with us as we move to each new 
stage. With practice, the process of letting go accelerates as we 


Reframe 8 


Respire 



See It 


2 Say H 


3 Sense li 


Relax 


Stay With It 


THE ENNEAGRAM OF 
LETTING GO 



3 6 4 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


See It 

2 Say h 

3 Seme It 



4 Stay With It 


“The only way out is through.” 

A Saying of the 
Twelve-Step Programs 


move through the first few points. Thus, having enough Presence to see 
that we are identified with some negative or unwanted state allows us 
to move to point One. 

At point One, with the support of Presence, we are able to “See it.” 
We see that we are identified with something—a view, a reaction, the 
need to be right, a pleasant daydream, a painful feeling, a posture—- 
almost anything. We recognize that we are stuck in some mechanism 
of our personality and that we have been in a trance. This is the phe¬ 
nomenon that we have previously called catching ourselves in the act. It 
always feels like waking up and “coming to our senses.” 

At pointTwo, we consciously name the state we have just recognized. 
We “Say it”—“I’m angry,” “I’m irritable,” “I’m hungry,” “I’m bored,” 
“I’m fed up with so-and-so,” “I don’t like this.” We simply and honestly 
name whatever state we are in, without analyzing it or judging it. 

At point Three, the process shifts from our minds to our bodies. 
We “Sense it.” Every intense emotional or mental state causes some 
kind of physical reaction in our body, some kind of tension. A person 
might notice, for instance, that whenever she becomes angry with her 
spouse, she clenches her jaw and gets tense in her shoulders. Another 
person might notice that when he is angry, he experiences a burning 
sensation in his belly. Yet another might discover that he squints when¬ 
ever he is talking to himself. Fear might make us feel “electrified” or 
cause us to curl our toes or hold our breath. At point Three, we sense 
this tension—we do not think about it or visualize it—we simply sense 
what it feels like right now. 

At point Four, we “Stay with it.” We stay with the sensation of the 
tension or energy we have located in our bodies. The temptation at this 
point is to simply say, “Well, I’m angry and my jaw is clenched. I get 
the point!” However, if we do not stay with the tension, our state will 
not be released. Moreover, if we are able to stay with it, underlying feel¬ 
ings of emotional pain or anxiety may begin to arise. If this occurs, we 
need compassion for ourselves so that we will be able to stay present to 
these feelings. 

It takes some time before we become interested in the simplicity of 
experiencing ourselves this way. We want the growth process to be 
more interesting and more dramatic, and we do not want to spend time 
with the pain of our tensions. Yet without doing so, any extraordinary 
experiences we have will have little real effect on how we live our lives. 

At point Five, if we have gone through the first four steps, we will 
feel something opening in us and tensions dropping away. We “Relax.” 
We will feel lighter and more awake. We do not force ourselves to relax; 
rather, by staying with our tensions and our sensations in point Four, 
we allow the process of relaxation to unfold in us. 

Relaxation is not becoming numb or limp. We know we are relax- 


THE ENNEAGRAM AND SPIRITUAL PRACTICE 


3 6 5 


ing when we experience our body and our feelings more vividly and 
more deeply. As we relax, we may uncover deeper layers in ourselves, 
and anxiety will often arise. This anxiety may cause us to tense up again, 
but to the degree that we can allow both relaxation and the sensation of 
our anxiety, the states that have been gripping us will continue to let go. 

Just as physical tensions dissipate when we sense them, stay with 
them, and relax, so do whatever emotional patterns that were creating 
them. The action of bringing both tensions and emotional patterns into the 
light of awareness dissolves them. 

At point Six, we remember to breathe. We “Respire.” This does not 
mean huffing and puffing as if we were practicing Lamaze. Rather, it 
simply means being more aware of our breath. We allow the relaxation 
from point Five to “touch” our breathing. This is important because the 
more we are engaged with the concerns of our personality ; the more con¬ 
stricted and shallow our breathing is. (We might notice, for instance, that 
when we are in a slightly stressful situation—driving a car or dealing 
with pressure at work—our breathing becomes shallower.) Breathing 
grounds us and helps release blocked emotional energy. As our breath¬ 
ing becomes deeper and more relaxed, the pattern of our tensions con¬ 
tinues to shift. We do not try to escape from whatever comes up for us 
emotionally but continue to breathe through it. As we do this, we may 
begin to feel the sense of ourselves expanding. We may feel more “real,” 
more centered. 

At point Seven we “Reconnect” with a fuller sense of ourselves and 
the world around us. We start letting other sensory impressions come 
into our awareness. We might begin to notice sunlight on a wall, or the 
temperature and quality of the air. We might notice the texture and 
color of the clothing that we are wearing. 

Reconnecting means opening up to whatever part of our experi¬ 
ence we were not previously allowing in. We discover that when we 
really connect with our experience, it does not have our usual associa¬ 
tions attached to it. Our habitual goals, agendas, and internal scripts 
drop away. Suddenly we see and we hear, and we sense, internally and 
externally, with greater clarity. 

If our problem has been with another person, we will not react to 
them in the ways that our habits have previously compelled us to. 
When we are entranced by our personality, we believe that we know 
what the other person is “always like” and what they will do, but when 
we reconnect with them, we realize how much we do « 0 £know about 
them. We appreciate and respect the mystery of their Being because we 
are more connected with our own Being. Once we allow ourselves to 
“not know” what the person is going to do or say, or what they are 
thinking, a much more real and immediate relationship with them 
becomes possible. 






THE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

At point Eight, we “Reframe’' the situation that we believed was 
causing our problems. We see our entire situation in a more objective 
light, and from this place of balance and clarity, we discover a way to 
handle it more effectively. 

If we were angry with someone, for example, we may be able to see 
the hurt and fear of that person so that we can speak to them with more 
compassion and acceptance. If we have felt overwhelmed by a problem, 
reconnecting with something more real in ourselves gives us the ability 
to see that we actually are up to the task. Or we may see that we have 
bitten off more than we can chew and that we need to ask for help. In 
any event, reframing puts ourselves and our problems into a much 
broader perspective. 

Finally, we return to point Nine, where we open to more Presence 
and, with it, increased awareness. From this increased capacity, it is 
much easier to go through these nine steps again if we need to. 

Once we have started to use “The Enneagram of Letting Go,” we 
may notice that we become stuck at the same place (or “point”) in the 
process over and over again. For instance, we will see something, say it, 
and then go no further. We may even notice that we are tense, but then 
get sidetracked before we can stay with the tension long enough to 
release it. It can be extremely helpful to notice where we abandon the 
process, and we may want to give some added attention to that point. 

As we continue to use this practice, it picks up momentum as we 
go around the circle, becoming easier and quicker. Also, the further 
along the sequence we are, the more difficult it becomes to separate the 
steps sequentially. We may find that we have to struggle more in the 
first part of the process, but once we start moving toward Presence, 
Presence increasingly supports the activity. 

By practicing “The Enneagram of Letting Go,” our fundamental 
experience of ourselves deepens and expands. We are more relaxed, 
alive, and connected with our own Being and with our surroundings, 
and more open to grace. We may well be astonished at how differently 
we experience ourselves compared with the state we were in before we 
went through this process. We have used the dross of personality and, 
by cooperating with something beyond ourselves, have turned it into 
gold. 


CHAPTER 17 


THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY— 
ALWAYS NOW 

▲ 


AFTER WE HAVE worked with this material for a while, we will no 
doubt see changes in ourselves, just as others will. We will likely be 
more at peace with ourselves, more grounded, and more forgiving of 
ourselves and others. Nonetheless, we may sometimes question the re¬ 
ality of our experiences, wondering whether our progress has mostly 
been an illusion, the product of self-deception or wishful thinking. 
There will be times when we will wonder, “Am I really making progress 
on my path?” 

The Levels of Development provide one useful way of answering 
this question. If we see that we no longer exhibit the behaviors or hold 
the attitudes that we formerly did and that we are behaving in ways that 
are consistent with living at a higher Level, then we can be reasonably 
sure that we are moving in the right direction. For example, if we are a 
Four, we may have been withdrawn, negatively self-conscious, hypersen¬ 
sitive to criticism, and temperamental (all Level 5 behaviors). If we are 
now consistently more outgoing and able to not take things so person¬ 
ally while revealing ourselves as we are to others—and if we are also more 
energetic, creative, and focused outwardly (all Level 3 behaviors)—then 
we can be reasonably sure that our center of gravity has shifted and we 
have made some real progress. Likewise, if a Seven can see that she is less 
scattered and impulsive, that she is more focused and in touch with her 
own experiences and finds that life is more enjoyable due to being more 
selective, then some kind of real progress has been made. 

But more subtle questions might still remain. We may think we are 
happier and better able to deal with life’s ups and downs—and yet per¬ 
haps we are only more adept at dissociating from our surroundings and 
“spiritualizing” our experience. What is the truth? Are we better off 
now or not? 


The way of love is not 
a subtle argument. 

The door there 
is devastation. 

Birds make great sky-circles 
of their freedom. 

How do they learn it? 

They fall, and falling, 
they're given wings. 

Rumi 

(translated by 
Coleman Barks) 



3 6 8 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


“Self-knowledge has no end— 
you don’t come to an achieve¬ 
ment, you don’t come to a conclu¬ 
sion. It is an endless river.” 

Krishnamurti 


“You won’t discover the limits 
of the soul, however far you go.” 

Heraclitus 


The answer lies in seeing our spontaneous reactions in a variety of cir¬ 
cumstances, particularly in those that formerly provoked negative re¬ 
sponses from us. If the people and situations that once brought out the 
worst in us no longer do, then we can be sure that we have made real 
progress. If we formerly lost our patience or compassion whenever we 
dealt with a particular person or circumstance and we no longer do, 
then we can be sure that we have made real progress. If life becomes 
easier, more expansive and zestful, an unending adventure instead of 
something we must “get through” until it is over, then we can be sure 
that we have made real progress. If we find that we are grounded and 
open-hearted, and are able to bring the full force of our Being to the 
tasks of the day with the involvement of a curious child and the nonat¬ 
tachment of a disinterested witness—then we can be sure that we have 
made some real progress. 

Moreover, the Enneagram itself points out sure markers of real 
progress: the high-functioning qualities—actually, the virtues—we find 
at Level 1 for each type are the keys that open doors on the spiritual 
path for us. To have any of them is sufficient—but to have access to 
them all is to have access to Essence at every moment and in all cir¬ 
cumstances. Therefore, if we are accepting of our limitations and the 
limitations of others (from Type One), self-nurturing and uncondi¬ 
tionally affirmative of the value of everything (from Type Two), au¬ 
thentically being ourselves with honesty and humility (from Type 
Three), renewing ourselves and enhancing the quality of life for our¬ 
selves and others (from Type Four), seeing the deeper meaning and 
context of all of our thoughts and actions (from Type Five), solidly 
grounded in reality and able to courageously handle whatever arises 
(from Type Six), joyous and grateful in the face of death, loss, and 
change (from Type Seven), large of heart and forgiving (from Type 
Eight), and all-embracing and solidly at peace no matter what life holds 
(from Type Nine)—then we can be sure that we have made progress on 
our path. 


GIVING UP OUR SUFFERING 

GurdjiefF said something strange and paradoxical—that the last 
thing human beings will let go of is their suffering. Could this possibly 
be correct? If so, why? 

First, our suffering is familiar. It is what we know, and it therefore 
feels safer than some other unknown condition. Perhaps we are afraid 
that if we give up our own personal brand of suffering, some new and 
worse form will take its place. The second reason is probably a more 
important one, and it should not be underestimated. Much of our 



THE 


SPIRITUAL JOURNEY 


ALWAYS 


NOW 


3 6 9 


identity comes from holding on to our suffering, from all the com¬ 
plaints, tensions, conflicts, blaming, drama, rationalizations, projec¬ 
tions, justifications, and “energy" that it allows. We could even say that 
it is the root of our personality. If our suffering—and everything that 
surrounded it—disappeared, who would we be? 

If nothing were wrong with us, we would have to confront the fear 
of standing alone in the present, and we would have to take responsi¬ 
bility for ourselves. We would have to be willing to make choices and 
see them through to completion. There would be no more blame, no 
more stories about the past, no more schemes about the future. We 
would simply become a living human being facing the vast mystery of 
existence. In fact, we would simply become what we already are, only 
now we would fully acknowledge it and live out of that truth. 

Until we reach full self-realization, the personality is going to keep 
shutting us down to some degree. It is important for us to expect this; 
otherwise we can get discouraged and give up. If we persist and keep show¬ 
ing up, however, even knowing that we are repeatedly going to fall asleep 
to ourselves, the situation will change. In time, our Essence will arise more 
frequently. With each awakening, something new is revealed until the 
whole picture radically shifts. Gurdjieff taught that the process is akin to 
adding salt to a glass of water: nothing seems to happen for a long while, 
until suddenly a saturation point is reached and a new crystal grows in the 
water. 

Ifwe refuse to be passive to the mechanisms of our personality, then we 
open ourselves to the Divine grace that is yearning to be active in us. As our 
Being gathers force, we become willing to let go of unnecessary suffering 
and become ever more deeply aware of the astonishing gift of life. In short, 
the degree to which we release our attachments and their attendant suffer¬ 
ing is the degree to which we free our capacity for joy and for life itself. 

Once we have entered this state, we understand the great poetry of 
the mystics—our journey feels less a struggle and more like being in 
love. Indeed, the Sufis describe the journey as a return to the Beloved. 
Nothing in life can fulfill us if we have not opened our hearts to our 
true nature, but if we have opened our hearts, then everything fulfills 
us. We then experience the world as an expression of infinite love. 


The minute I heard my first 
love story 

I started searching for you, not 
knowing 

How blind I was. 

Lovers don’t finally meet 
somewhere 

They're in each other all along. 

Rumi 

(translated by 
Coleman Barks) 


Life Supports Us 

Generally speaking, 99 percent of the time life is benign and sup¬ 
portive. The ego leads us to fixate on the 1 percent when it is painful, 
dark, or tragic—although even in these times, it is usually only painful 
and tragic to us. (Our tragedy might he someone elses good luck.) 
Although the mind imagines worst-case scenarios—like car crashes— 
most of our lives are not composed of these kinds of events. If we look 



3 7 0 


THE WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


SUBCONSCIOUS FEARS OF DROPPING 
THE PERSONALITY 

The underlying reason that many of us fear becoming present 
is because we intuitively understand that doing so entails becom¬ 
ing less attached to our particular ego agendas. 

Thus, each of the three Triads has a characteristic false belief 
about the necessity of continuing its ego projects, along with a 
subconscious fear of what will happen if these projects stop. These 
fearful beliefs will show up repeatedly as obstacles to Presence— 
as “reasons” to not let go of whatever we are identified with. The 
following are some of the subconscious fears associated with each 
Triad: 


The Instinctive Triad (Types Eight, Nine, and One): 

“If I let down my guard and relax into the flow of life, I will 
disappear. The familiar ‘I’ will cease to exist. I cannot protect my 
sense of self if I am truly open. If I really let the world in and allow 
it to affect me, I will be overwhelmed and lose my freedom and 
independence. I will be annihilated.” 


The Feeling Triad (Types Ttvo, Three, and Four): 

“If I stop identifying with this image of myself, my worthless¬ 
ness will be revealed and I will lose the possibility of experiencing 
love. Deep down, I suspect that I am a horrible, unlovable person, 
so only by maintaining this ego project do I have any hope of being 
welcomed into the world or of feeling good about myself.” 


The Thinking Triad (Types Five, Six, and Seven): 

“If I stop this strategy, if I stop figuring out what I need to do, 
the ‘ground’ will not be there to support me. The world cannot be 
trusted—without my mental activity I will be left vulnerable. 
Everything will fall to pieces—I will fall and be lost. If my mind 
does not keep ‘swimming,’ I will sink.” 





THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY — ALWAY 

at our lives more objectively, we see that reality is actually highly sup¬ 
portive of us—a miracle, if we could see it for what it is. The universe 
is much more generous than most of us have ever recognized or ac¬ 
knowledged, and in the face of this overwhelming abundance, it sim¬ 
ply makes sense to awaken and open ourselves to this generosity. 

The world’s great religions all teach that we are not alone and that 
we are supported in invisible ways and to a depth that we cannot imag¬ 
ine. In much of the Christian tradition, there is belief in the “commu¬ 
nion of saints,” a teaching that sees the entire community of Heaven 
constantly interceding on behalf of those still on earth. Hindus see the 
manifestations of God everywhere, in trees and lakes and mountains— 
as well as in storms and volcanoes—just as Buddhists see the infinite 
forms of Buddha-nature. The statues of Christian saints and innumer¬ 
able bodhisattvas are reminders of this profound spiritual truth: that we 
are not alone, and that we are supported on our path in an infinite va¬ 
riety of ways. 

One of the most famous temples in Japan is the Sanjusangen-do 
(The Hall of Thirty-Three Bays), dedicated to Kannon, the Buddha of 
Divine Compassion. What gives this temple its unique impact are the 
1,001 gilded statues of Kannon arranged ten rows deep, stretching the 
length of two football fields inside the temple. It is a quietly over¬ 
whelming place, loaded with exquisite delicacy and force, reminding 
the visitor that the Absolute, God, continuously sends forth countless 
helpers and wave upon wave of grace to each human being, as well as 
constant blessings from the limitless depths of Divine compassion. The 
visitor is overwhelmed by this golden throng of the bearers of grace and 
goodwill from the world just outside of our ordinary perceptions. 

We become aware of this benevolence slowly but inexorably: when 
we open ourselves to the present moment, everything becomes our 
teacher because everything in life supports our presence and our 
growth. The Enneagram shows us how we say no to life, how we turn 
away from the riches around us all the time. As the 1,001 statues of 
Kannon remind us, however, what we truly want and are always look¬ 
ing for outside of ourselves is always available here and now. 


EXCAVATION AND RECOVERY OF THE TRUE SELF 

One evening, on a late-night flight to California to give a training 
session, we began to reflect on the various stages of growth that we had 
been going through in our own inner work. Part of our discussion had 
to do with whether or not we would ever see the proverbial “light at the 
end of the tunnel,” since each of us was constantly going through a fair 
amount of pain as we uncovered layers of neurotic habits and 


s NOW 371 

"Bidden or not bidden, God is 
Present.” 

Carl Jung 


“Ask, and it shall be given to 
you: seek, and you will find; knock, 
and it will be opened to you." 

Jesus of Nazareth 


“Those who are awake live in a 
state of constant amazement.” 

Buddha 


"The further you enter into 
the truth, the deeper it is." 

Zen Master Bankei 



3 7 2 


THE 


WISDOM 


OF THE 


ENNEAGRAM 


"The true value of a human 
being can be found in the degree 
to which he has attained libera¬ 
tion from the self." 

Albert Einstein 


unresolved issues from the past. We also wondered if the process of un¬ 
peeling the “onion” of our own psyches was unique to us, or if it could 
be generalized to others. We sat on the plane for several hours, sketch¬ 
ing observations and comparing experiences. By the time we landed, 
we had put together the following model, which we have continued to 
reflect on and refine over the years. 

The answer that we ultimately arrived at that airborne evening was 
a resounding “Yes!” Our conviction that “excavating our true self” is an 
accurate description of the process of transformation has become more 
solid with the passage of time. Even though excavating the various 
strata of the psyche meant going through layers of pain and negativity, 
making conscious the old accumulated psychic junk that we had not 
wished to deal with, it would be worth it. It was possible to uncover 
our Essential Being, our “core of gold,” that not only had been waiting 
for us but had been urging us on all along. 

The work had to proceed layer by layer, as we dug past the outer 
structures of the personality and into the deeper core qualities of our 
true nature. As we worked this process ourselves for several years, we 
identified nine distinct strata in the process of self-recovery. These nine 
strata do not correspond either to the nine personality types or to the 
nine Levels of Development within each type. Think of them as the 
different “worlds” that you will encounter as you explore more and 
more deeply the Essential aspects of your spiritual nature—like nine 
layers of an onion. 

As we reflected further on these strata and taught them for several 
years, we have not only become convinced of their truth and usefulness 
but have also seen that parts of them have been discovered by others 
working in other traditions. This map of the process of transformation 
brings together insights that everyone faces as they confront the uni¬ 
versal barriers to Inner Work. 


First Stratum: Our Habitual Self-Image 

This first stratum is composed of ideas and images of who we 
would like to be and how we automatically see ourselves. It usually con¬ 
tains a degree of grandiosity and illusion. For example, we may think 
that we never lie, or that we are never late for appointments, or that we 
always think first of others, and so forth. We may also have habitually 
negative views about ourselves: that we are unattractive or unintelligent 
or lacking in athletic ability. In the trance of personality, we seldom 
question these deeply held assumptions about ourselves, and we react 
easily and powerfully when others question or fail to support our (illu¬ 
sory) view of ourselves. 

At the first stratum, the person is in the average-to-unhealthy range 



THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY 


ALWAYS 


NOW 


3 7 3 


(at Level 4 of the Levels of Development or lower). Unless the person 
is given some means of waking up (usually from outside of themselves), 
there is little hope of change, as the person is so deep in the trance of 
personality identification that they cannot wake up themselves. If we 
have misidentified our type (and, for example, we are actually a Nine 
instead of a Five, as we believed ourselves to be), we are automatically 
operating in the realm of the habitual self-image, and it is almost im¬ 
possible to do any meaningful transformational work with the Enneagram. 
This is why it is crucial to get our personality type correct and to un¬ 
derstand its inner workings clearly. 


"The most common sort of lie 
is the one uttered to oneself.” 

Nietzsche 


Second Stratum: Our Actual Behavior 


If we enter the path of Inner Work and stay with the process of self¬ 
observation, we begin to notice that many of our behaviors are incon¬ 
sistent with our habitual self-image. This realization allows us to attain 
the second stratum, in which we begin to “catch ourselves in the act.” 
Our self-image may be that we always tell the truth, but we may begin 
to notice how often we tell white lies to avoid confrontations or to 
please people. 

Fortunately, all of us have had spontaneous moments of waking up 
to the truth of our condition and to our greater possibilities. But to ex¬ 
pand on these moments, we need to value them enough to seek out 
ways to stay more awake. This means looking for support for our inner 
work—through books, practices, friends, or more formal guides such 
as therapists or teachers. Staying at this stratum, much less moving on 
to deeper ones, requires that we increasingly cultivate the ability to be 
present. The deeper we go, the more presence we will need. 

Third Stratum: Our Internal Attitudes and Motivations 

If we persist on the path, we will begin to notice the attitudes and 
motives that lie behind our behavior. What is causing us to do the 
things we do? Are we doing things to get attention? Or because we are 
mad at our mothers? Or because we want to discharge our own pain or 
shame? Psychoanalysis and most forms of therapy aim at bringing this 
layer of the self to consciousness so that our behavior is not automati¬ 
cally governed by unconscious impulses. The more deeply we go into 
these questions, the more ambiguous the answers become, as it is often 
not possible to say precisely what “causes” a particular behavior. 

At this stratum, we also see the depth of our learned behaviors and 
habits, and how many of them stretch back for generations within our 
family and our culture. Our type’s motivational core (including and es¬ 
pecially our Basic Fear and Basic Desire) is an important element that 



3 7 4 T 


"Your resistance to change is 
likely to reach its peak when sig¬ 
nificant change is imminent.” 

George Leonard 


HE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

keeps our automatic personality habits and reactions in place. In un¬ 
derstanding our motivations, we also begin to glimpse what our soul is 
truly yearning for. Our motivations reveal what we think we lack and 
are therefore always seeking in one form or another. 

Fourth Stratum: Our Underlying Affects and Tensions 

As we become more deeply aware of ourselves in the present mo¬ 
ment, we begin to discover what our felt experience is at that moment. 
For instance, at stratum 2, we might discover that we are pretending to 
be interested in a conversation at a party. At stratum 3, we might rec¬ 
ognize that we actually want to leave the party, and at stratum 4, we 
might become aware of a feeling of restless agitation in our stomach, or 
a feeling of tension in our shoulders and neck. 

If we are able to develop our ability to observe ourselves suffi¬ 
ciently, we will become aware of subtle layers of muscular and energetic 
tensions in our body, as well as areas in our body where our energy is 
blocked or absent. Relaxation and breathing become more important 
here. Stratum 4 requires considerably more ability to stay present to the 
sensations in the body than do any of the previous strata. 

Fifth Stratum: Our Rage, Shame, and Fear and 
the Libidinal Energies 

If we are able to stay with the processes we uncover in stratum 4, 
we will encounter more primitive—and possibly more disturbing— 
emotional states as we continue to go deeper. These include the three 
“master emotions” of the ego: anger, shame, and fear, which govern the 
Instinctive, Feeling, and Thinking Triads, respectively. 

It is also in this stratum that we encounter the primitive instinctual 
energies (the basis of the Instinctual Variants) in their raw form—the 
drive for self-preservation, the drive for social connection with our fel¬ 
low creatures, and the sexual drive. Primal affects of attachment, frus¬ 
tration, and rejection can also be recognized here. This stratum usually 
makes us extremely uncomfortable, which is why we need to also prac¬ 
tice relaxation techniques and, above all, to be nonjudgmental about 
what we find in ourselves as we work through the issues that we un¬ 
cover. Traditional psychotherapy tends to end at this stratum. 

Sixth Stratum: Our Grief, Remorse, and Ego Deficiency 


This stratum has nothing to do with guilt or the usual feelings of 
sadness and loss that we experience in our everyday lives. Rather, the 



THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY — ALWAY 

heartrending sorrow and natural remorse we encounter here come from 
the clear perception of how deeply and completely we have been sepa¬ 
rated from our Essential nature. 

This stratum therefore entails a considerable amount of “conscious 
suffering” that the seeker willingly allows for the sake not only of 
progress but of truth. The suffering experienced at this stratum is 
purgative in the purest sense of the word, burning away the last re¬ 
maining illusions of the ego as they are clearly seen in the light of 
Essence and truth. There are no good guys and bad guys, and therefore 
there is no one to blame for one’s state. When all is said and done, this 
stratum is experienced as a profound sorrow for the human condition, 
felt as an intense burning sensation, especially in the heart. In spiritual 
traditions, this stratum has been associated with the Dark Night of the 
Soul. 

Seventh Stratum: Emptiness, the Void 

This stratum has been described in many of the Eastern religious 
traditions, especially Buddhism. At this stage, we fully realize that our 
personality is nothing but a temporary fabrication, a story we have told 
ourselves for a long time. To leave the familiarity of our ego identity 
nevertheless feels like stepping into nothing, like walking off the edge 
of the world. It therefore takes faith of some kind to counteract the 
terror and despair that usually mark this stratum. 

This stratum is experienced by the personality as its end, its death. 
If we have sufficient support and faith to persevere and make the leap, 
however, what we find is completely unexpected. Rather than experi¬ 
ence the agony that the personality anticipates, what appears to the per¬ 
sonality as “nothing” reveals itself as everything, the “shining Void” 
(called Sunyata in Zen) from which everything emanates. Everything 
that we know to exist arises from this Void; it is completely empty and 
yet full of potentiality. It is our freedom and the source of our life. 
There is no longer a distinction between the observer and the observed: 
experience and experiencer are one. 

Eighth Stratum: True Personal Being 

Witbin this state of emptiness, paradoxically, we still experience 
ourselves as personal beings, functioning effectively in the world, but 
our identity is centered in Essence and our actions are guided by 
Divine awareness rather than by the projects and preoccupations of our 
personalities. There is still a sense of personal, individual awareness, to¬ 
gether with a great outpouring of personal love, gratitude, awe, and ex¬ 
altation from the soul toward Being and its infinite manifestations. 


s NOW 3 7 s 

“It is mind-boggling to think 
that spirituality is dying into your¬ 
self. But there is a death in it and 
people grieve.There is a grief that 
occurs when who you thought 
you were starts to disappear.” 

Ram Dass 


“Grace fills empty spaces, but 
it can only enter where there is a 
void to receive it, and it is grace it¬ 
self which makes this void.” 

Simone Weil 



3 7 6 T 


“I sloughed off my self as a 
snake sloughs off its skin. Then I 
looked into myself and saw that I 
am He.” 

Abu Yazid Al-Bistami 


"For the kingdom of God is 
within you.” 

Jesus of Nazareth 


HE WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

This is the stratum in which we fully embody our personal Essential 
Being, which in some sacred traditions is referred to as the state of “I 
am.” In Sufism, it is marked by identification with the personal Pearl, 
the Essential Self, as a personal expression of the Divine. In 
Christianity, this stratum marks the beginning of the attainment of the 
Beatific Vision, in which the individual self experiences an ecstatic re¬ 
alization of the Divine. 

Ninth Stratum: Nonpersonal, Universal Being. 

Little can be said about this state since it cannot be described in 
words; all phenomena, no matter how subtle or exalted, arise from it. 
If the seeker has been blessed enough to persist in his or her quest for 
the Divine, the soul will have finally found its destination in mystical 
union with God,- or what some traditions call the Supreme or the 
Absolute. It is the attainment of complete nondual awareness, the total 
merging of the individual consciousness with God, so that there is only 
God-consciousness. The individual self and the Divine arc one. This 
state of consciousness is beyond any sense of individual existence and 
manifests as nonpersonal Essential awareness, the limitless Being from 
which the manifest universe blossoms. 

This is the ultimate destination promised by the great mystical tra¬ 
ditions, but to attain this state of consciousness in any lasting way is ex¬ 
tremely rare. Only some extraordinary mystics and saints of history 
have truly lived their lives from this profound state of awareness. But 
most of us can have at least a taste of it, and often that is enough. To 
taste this reality even once can change our lives in profound ways. Once 
we know the unity of existence as a real experience, we can never again 
regard people, ourselves, or the gift of our lives in the same way. 

The Continuum of Consciousness 

If we look back at these nine strata, we can see how they form a 
continuum from the realm of the imaginary, with little connection 
with reality, to the realm of the purely psychological and into the realm 
of the spiritual. Strata 1 through 3 are primarily psychological. Strata 4 
through 6 include elements that are psychological (especially from 
depth psychology) but also elements that we would more generally 
place in the spiritual category. They are psychospirituak our progress 
through them requires an integrated approach that uses both psychol¬ 
ogy and spirituality. We can see that strata 7 through 9 are concerned 
mainly with the realms of the spirit. 

The Enneagram can be helpful primarily in strata 1 through 5 and 
is most powerful in the earlier strata (1 through 3). Strata 1 through 3 



THE 


SPIRITUAL JOURNEY — ALWAYS 


NOW 


3 7 7 


help us move into the healthy range of the Levels of Development. 
Strata 4 through 6 help us to consolidate a healthy personality and 
begin the process of transferring our sense of identity from personality 
to Essence. Strata 7 through 9 involve the realization and maturation 
of the Essential self and deal with issues at Level 1 (of the Levels of 
Development) and beyond. 

Our journey will take us through some challenging stretches, but 
we must remember that everything our heart really yearns for awaits us 
at the end of that journey. 


“The most radical re-mapping 
or shifting of the [self-] boundary 
line occurs in experiences of the 
supreme identity, for here the 
person expands his self-identity 
boundary to include the entire 
universe." 


Ken Wilber 


BEYOND PERSONALITY 
Essence Is Under Our Noses 

Although it is true that we need to be patient and persistent dur¬ 
ing the process of transformation, experiencing our Essence is not as 
difficult as we usually believe. Indeed, one of the ego’s main defenses 
against doing so is the belief that spirituality is something rarefied, im¬ 
practical, and very far away. In fact, it is closer than we think, as the 
mystics assure us; we do not have to go anywhere or accomplish any¬ 
thing. What we must learn is to stop running away from ourselves. When 
we see ourselves as we really are—our truth and our falseness —we 
begin a process of unlearning the habit of abandoning ourselves and of 
living in illusions, reactions, and defenses. 

The good news is that you are already here: your Essence already 
exists entirely and perfectly. The person who is reading this page does 
not have to do anything to make himself or herself real or “spiritual.” 
Once we begin to see the reasons why we have abandoned ourselves 
and have left the moment, we run out of reasons to do so. 
Understanding our personality type helps us to be aware of these “rea¬ 
sons.” When we stop trying to be someone we are not, our true nature 
emerges: we “observe and let go” and stop interfering with our unfold¬ 
ing; we stop defending a particular self-definition. 

We do not need to learn something new or add anything to be. our 
True Nature. Spiritual progress involves seeing what is right under our 
noses—really, what is right under the layers of our personality. Spiritual 
work is therefore a matter of subtraction, of letting go; rather than of 
adding anything to what is already present. From one point of view, 
this can be extremely challenging because the patterns of our personal¬ 
ity have been so deeply ingrained in our Being. But from another per¬ 
spective, we have the support of the whole universe in this Work. The 
Divine Consciousness wants us to do the Work and supports us in the 
process. Inner Work is therefore a continuing mystery and marvel to 


“... Self-realization [is] only the 
realization of one’s true nature. 
The seeker of liberation realizes, 
without doubts or misconcep¬ 
tions, his real nature by distin¬ 
guishing the eternal from the 
transient, and never swerves from 
his natural state.” 

Ramana Maharshi 


“.. .Where and when God finds 
you ready, he must act and over¬ 
flow into you, just as when the air 
is clear and pure, the sun must 
overflow into it and cannot refrain 
from doing that.” 

• Meister Eckhart 



3 7 8 T 


“The ultimate gift of conscious 
life is a sense of the mystery that 
encompasses it." 

Lewis Mumford 


“There is nothing more worth¬ 
while and more difficult than the 
fundamental human task of simply 
becoming human." 

John Macquarrie 


E WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

see unfolding in ourselves and others. Always remember, however, that 
we cannot do it by ourselves, but without us, it cannot be done. 

Moments That Live 

The Buddhists say, “There are no holy people or holy places, only 
holy moments”—moments of grace. All of us have experienced such 
moments. True moments of grace, when we are fully alive and awake, 
have an entirely different quality, even in our memories, than other 
events that we might recall. Essential moments are much more vivid 
and real because they are still with us; they possess immediacy because 
the impact of life has penetrated the dullness of our consciousness and 
awakened us. We realize that as we learn to let go of fear, resistance, and 
self-image, we become more available to these transformative moments 
and they nourish our spirits. Thus, while we may not yet be able to pro¬ 
duce such moments at will, we can create the conditions in ourselves 
that make it easier for us to have them. 

What is most striking about these “moments that live” is that they 
do not require extraordinary events to trigger them. They occur quietly 
and often unexpectedly, at the breakfast table, on the commuter train, 
while walking down the street, or while talking with a friend. We per¬ 
sonally have had some of the most fulfilling spiritual experiences while 
doing nothing more than looking at a doorknob, or really seeing the 
face of an acquaintance. The beauty of these kinds of experiences is 
overwhelming and life-changing. It is thus not what we do that makes 
the difference, but the quality of awareness that we bring to the mo¬ 
ment. 

Few things in life are more extraordinary than a living moment in 
which we are face-to-face with another person. To be truly open and 
present to another human being is awesome and sometimes over¬ 
whelming. Being authentically with another person helps to remind us 
that we are always in the presence of the Divine. 

Toward Spiritual Maturity 

For many of us, the initial stages of the spiritual journey involve 
seeking profound and dazzling experiences. We want intimations of the 
Divine, evidence of all that we have hoped for or have been taught. 
And if we are sincere in our practice, we achieve many of these experi¬ 
ences. We directly know compassion, joy, inner peace, strength, and 
will, among other true qualities of the soul. We may come to under¬ 
stand what the Buddhists mean when they speak of emptiness, or what 
the Sufi poets mean when they write of the Beloved; we may under- 



THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY 


ALWAYS 


NOW 


3 7 9 


MOMENTS THAT LIVE 


In your Inner Work Journal, write for thirty minutes about the moments of your life that had the most 
reality for you.What were they like? What were you like at such moments? Were these moments important 
events or ordinary events? How are they different from your other memories? 


stand the mystery of Christs resurrection in an entirely new and per¬ 
sonal way. Yet unless these experiences are integrated as part of our 
daily lives, they remain little more than vague memories—grist for con¬ 
versations or, worse, ways to impress our friends with our more 
“evolved” state. 

If we stick with our practice, however, and continue to seek the 
truth of the situation, we come to realize that these sublime states are 
not extraordinary; nor do they indicate that we are more “special” than 
other human beings. Rather, we begin to understand that we are sim¬ 
ply glimpsing reality. It is as fundamental as the sky and the sea—in¬ 
extricable from human life. We realize that our vision is coming into 
focus and that we are now experiencing reality as it truly is. But because 
this reality allows us to experience our love, value, wisdom, and 
strength directly, we see that we no longer have to strive after these 
things; thus, we are no longer attached to specific possessions or out¬ 
comes. We can retire our ego projects with gratitude for bringing us as 
far as they did. At this stage, we are free to live as mature human be¬ 
ings, acting responsibly and compassionately in the world. This is the 
true meaning of the expression “to be in the world but not of it.” 

Not long ago, I, Russ, had a profound realization of this truth 
while on a spiritual retreat. At the time, we were engaged in a work pe¬ 
riod, not unlike the one Don described at the beginning of this book, 
and I had been assigned to wash windows for the afternoon. At this 
stage, I had been in dozens of such work periods, so the inner reluc¬ 
tance and resistance that once ruled me in such situations was not the 
main problem anymore. As difficult as it had been, I had learned to 
enjoy these periods as richly rewarding opportunities to gain insight 
into myself and to restore a greater inner balance. 

I was working on the second floor of a dormitory, slowly and 
mindfully washing windows. Because this activity had nothing to do 
with my normal ego agendas, I was free to watch the mechanisms of 
my personality run wild while I attempted to stay present to my task. 
Wondering if I was doing a good job, hoping my teacher would notice 
my efforts, pondering the significance of the moment, and many other 
thoughts and fantasies played out in my head. Eventually, however, I 
noticed something more fundamental: I noticed that something in me 


“There is no greater mystery 
than this, that we keep seeking re¬ 
ality though in fact we are reality. 
We think that there is something 
hiding reality and that this must be 
destroyed before reality is gained. 
How ridiculous! A day will dawn 
when you will laugh at all your 
past efforts.That which will be on 
the day you laugh is also here and 
now.” 


Ramana Maharshi 


"If we could see the miracle of 
a single flower clearly, our whole 
life would change.” 


Buddha 






3 8 0 T 


“The unfolding of Essence be¬ 
comes the process of living; Life is 
no longer a string of disconnected 
experiences of pleasure and pain 
but a flow, a stream of aliveness.” 

A. H. Almaas 


E WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

felt that it had to “keep track” of everything. I noticed that my mind 
was busy running the show, recording events, remembering important 
observations for later use, and at a deeper level, maintaining an orien¬ 
tation to my experience that felt not only familiar but necessary. In fact, 

I was this orientation. 

At that moment, something remarkable happened. I saw that I did 
not really need to maintain that watchful orientation. I could relax and 
let go, and the windows would still get washed. Some inner tension re¬ 
laxed, and suddenly my experience became immediate and unmediated 
by my mental activity. I was simply' there as Presence: the window¬ 
washing was occurring, my body was moving and breathing, the leaves 
in the trees moved outside, everything flowed, but there was no sense 
of separateness. The world, including me, was a single, magnificently 
beautiful flowering or unfolding that went on and on and on. Yet all of 
this occurred within a vast, peaceful stillness that was undisturbed by 
this flowing, transforming play of reality. What I usually took to be the 
ground of reality—the everyday world—was indeed real but was more 
like the play of sunlight on the surface of the ocean. I could see the 
shimmering reflections on the waves but was also aware of the depth of 
the ocean beneath and knew myself to be at that depth. 

As I left my task, the connection with this aspect of reality remained 
and deepened, such that I was able to interact with other people from 
this expanded sense of myself. I felt no need to impress others with this 
“achievement,” because I could see that it was not really an achievement 
but simply an experience of the true nature of the world. Further, I 
could also see that everyone else was merely an aspect of this same na¬ 
ture, so whom would I be impressing? 

What was most striking about this experience was that I saw that it 
was entirely possible to be aware of myself as a profound depth of 
Being, but also to function quite normally in the world—eating, con¬ 
versing, working, and resting. Respecting and loving others came quite 
naturally because 1 actually experienced the true nature of the situation. 
In other words, realizing our true nature liberates us from the cravings 
and illusions of our personality, so that we are able to interact from mo¬ 
ment to moment with simplicity, grace, and unshakable inner peace. 
We know who and what we are, and that endless inner restlessness 
ceases. We are free to accept the greatest and most precious gift of all: 
the unfathomable mystery of our Being, our very existence. 

The Heroism of the Work 

One of the most astonishing things we discover in exploring our 
habits, reactions, and inner voices is how many of them are inherited 
from our parents. Although many of us would like to see ourselves as 



THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY — ALWAYS 


NOW 


3 8 I 


being totally different from our mother and father, the more closely we 
examine our attitudes and behavior, the more we see how many of their 
psychological issues and “solutions” have been passed down to us. Our 
parents, too, carried many of the issues and reactions of their parents— 
and so on back for generations. 

From this perspective, we can see that when we bring awareness to 
our habitual personality, we are healing not just our own problems but 
also the destructive patterns that have been taking their toll for many 
generations, possibly for centuries, within our bloodline. Working on 
ourselves therefore redeems not only our own sufferings and struggles, 
but the sufferings and struggles of all our ancestors, which led to pro¬ 
ducing people who could be free of them. It is the same as when peo¬ 
ple became free after generations of slavery and realized that their 
freedom gave meaning and dignity to the struggles of all the genera¬ 
tions that preceded them. 

A further, perhaps even more compelling reason to do this Work is 
to prevent destructive patterns from being passed on to the next generation. 
For instance, we are becoming aware that many of our unconscious 
habits and attitudes about the environment or racism have reached a 
critical point. Consequently, many young parents are doing their best 
to embody new socially and environmentally aware values so that their 
children will not continue in the same destructive ways. From a per¬ 
sonal as well as a generational perspective, therefore, working on our¬ 
selves is a noble act and parenting a child is a call to awaken—to see, 
to respond, and to give wholeheartedly. Raising a child is as close as 
most people get to being in a spiritual school, because parenting is 
bound to bring up all of one’s own childhood issues. Often these issues 
are passed on either by repeating them or by reacting to them— unless 
we use the opportunity to work on ourselves, to overcome our issues 
and redeem our past. 

Indeed, the work of releasing the habits of the past is a heroic en¬ 
deavor. It requires tremendous courage to face our hurts, losses, anger, 
and frustrations; it takes real compassion to not flee from our suffering. 
Moreover, seeing the generational nature of our personality patterns 
makes it abundantly clear that our personal transformation has far- 
reaching consequences that we cannot always anticipate. In a very real 
way, when we work on ourselves we are taking part in the evolution of 
human consciousness. 

Everyone is aware that something momentous is happening in 
the world today. While these intimations may be no more than reac¬ 
tions to the millennium, many of us feel that they reflect something 
more fundamental—the awakening of our collective consciousness. 
We know that we cannot, as a species, continue to live as we have and 
survive much longer. The time for rampant egoism, heedless 


“... Spiritual opening is not a 
withdrawal to some imagined 
realm or safe cave. It is not a 
pulling away, but a touching of all 
the experience of life with wis¬ 
dom and with a heart of kindness, 
without any separation.” 

Jack Kornfield 



3 8 2 T 

“Our greatest need is to con¬ 
secrate life through being faithful 
to a deeper reality in ourselves. 
Can we see now that our prayer 
is for our birthright, lost and long 
forgotten, although not totally, for 
the memory of its taste is there, 
calling me, reminding me.” 

Christopher Freemantle 


E WISDOM OF THE ENNEAGRAM 

consumption, and grasping individuality is over. They have run their 
course, and we see the damaging results on a global scale. It may be 
that the Enneagram has been given to mankind in our era as a tool for 
accelerating the transformation of the individual ego self. Spiritual 
teachers around the world are speaking about the need for a shift in 
consciousness on the planet, and the two may be linked. 

It may not be possible just yet to know where humanity is going, 
but if the Enneagram accelerates our awakening, then it will have pro¬ 
found and far-reaching effects. If even a few hundred individuals awak¬ 
ened and began to live fully conscious lives, the history of the world 
undoubtedly would change. 

Transformation happens when our ordinary perspective shifts and 
we attain a new understanding of who we really are. We must remem¬ 
ber, however, that awareness of who we really are happens—as do all 
moments of grace—only always now. When all is said and done,